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Graduate Student Seminar - 10/3/2014

"Unusual Effects of Retardation on Casimir Forces and Torques"

by David Somers

Friday, October 3, 2014 -- 12:00 p.m.
Large Conference Room, 1207 Energy Research Facility

Advisor:  Assistant Professor Jeremy Munday

Two uncharged materials can experience a Casimir force, which is caused by quantum fluctuations of the electromagnetic field. Since Casimir forces and torques dominate mechanical interactions between electrically neutral materials at the nano- and microscale, understanding and controlling these effects are crucial for constructing NEMS and MEMS. Generally, the magnitude of the Casimir force is reduced by retardation effects, which account for the finite speed of light. Anisotropic materials experience a torque from the same quantum fluctuations, but this torque can be enhanced by retardation. This means that we can increase Casimir torques by using a dielectric medium to slow the propagation of light. Finally, we predict that two identical anti-aligned gratings separated by a dielectric medium can experience Casimir repulsion, which was previously thought to exist only between two different materials.

For additional information about the IREAP Graduate Student Seminars, contact Joe Garrett, David Somers or Joe Murray.

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