Vacuum modes confined into an electromagnetic cavity give rise to an attractive interaction between the opposite walls. When the distance between the walls is changed non-adiabatically, virtual vacuum modes are turned into real particles, i.e. photons are generated out of the vacuum. These effects are known as the static and dynamical Casimir effect, respectively. Here we demonstrate the dynamical Casimir effect using a Josephson metamaterial embedded in a microwave cavity at 5.4 GHz. We achieve the non-adiabatic change in the effective length of the cavity by flux-modulation of the SQUID-based metamaterial, which results in a few percent variation in the velocity of light. We show that energy-correlated photons are generated from the ground state of the cavity and that their power spectra display a bimodal frequency distribution. These results are in excellent agreement with theoretical predictions, all the way to the regime where classical parametric effects cannot be of consequence.
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