Internship | QT Quantum Energy

Can the Quantum Vacuum can be used as a clean and endless energy source? Inspired by a US patent describing a “Quantum Vacuum Energy Extraction” device, we will explore how Casimir cavities change atomic energy levels, theoretically/experimental



Education type

university (wo)


Internship and graduation project

Hours a week

Fulltime – 40


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What will you be doing?

It is generally accepted in the scientific community that the Quantum Vacuum has an infinite energy, or at least a very large amount of energy (depending on the frequency cutoff). It is also generally assumed that this so-called zero-point energy is inaccessible to us. However, there are a number of publications by scientists who claim that it is possible, in principle, to extract useful energy from the Quantum Vacuum. The potential is enormous: if true, it would give us access to a clean and endless energy source, accessible at any time at any point in the universe.

Project description
The project consists of a literature study resulting in a report discussing and reviewing the Quantum Vacuum energy, especially in quantum electrodynamics. Next, what are the arguments for and against the possibility of extracting useful energy from the Quantum Vacuum? After general considerations, we will focus on the concrete implementation of a “Quantum Vacuum Energy Extraction” device as described in US patent 7,379,286, which uses a gas flowing through Casimir cavities. Initial measurements with the device were inconclusive. We will focus on the two main assumptions on which the functioning of this device rests, from a theoretical perspective and/or how we can test those assumptions in dedicated experiments:
  1. Electron energy levels in atoms depend on the energy density of the surrounding Quantum Vacuum, and should therefore be lower inside Casimir cavities.
  2. There is an asymmetry between the emitted radiation spectrum (when entering the cavity) and the absorbed radiation spectrum (when exiting the cavity).

In summary, the internship should help to show the feasibility of extracting useful energy from the Quantum Vacuum. All findings will be discussed in a report and will be presented to TNO.

What do we require of you?

We invite Master students with a background in (computational) mathematics and/or quantum physics to apply.

What can you expect of your work situation?

TNO is an independent research organisation whose expertise and research make an important contribution to the competitiveness of companies and organisations, to the economy and to the quality of society as a whole. Innovation with purpose is what TNO stands for. With 3000 people we develop knowledge not for its own sake but for practical application. To create new products that make life more pleasant and valuable and help companies innovate. To find creative answers to the questions posed by society. We work for a variety of customers: governments, companies, service providers and non-governmental organisations. Working together on new knowledge, better products and clear recommendations for policy and processes. In everything we do, impact is the key. Our product and process innovations and recommendations are only worth something if our customers can use them to boost their competitiveness.

What can TNO offer you?

You want to work on the precursor of your career; a work placement gives you an opportunity to take a good look at your prospective future employer. TNO goes a step further. It’s not just looking that interests us; you and your knowledge are essential to our innovation. That’s why we attach a great deal of value to your personal and professional development. You will, of course, be properly supervised during your work placement and be given the scope for you to get the best out of yourself. Naturally, we provide suitable work placement compensation.

Has this vacancy sparked your interest?

Then please feel free to apply on this vacancy! For further questions don’t hesitate to contact us.

Contact: Martin Woudstra
Phone number: +31 (0)6-826 63175

Note that applications via email and third party applications are not taken into consideration.


Apply now



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