Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Warming up to the Casimir force

19.01.2009
The Casimir force between objects in a vacuum shows a complex dependence on temperature

When two uncharged objects are placed in a vacuum with no external fields, we wouldn’t expect them to have any force between them other than gravity. Quantum electrodynamics says otherwise. It shows that tiny quantum oscillations in the vacuum will give rise to an attraction called the Casimir force.

Scientists at the RIKEN Advanced Science Institute in Wako, and co-workers at the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (NASU), have shown for the first time that the Casimir force has a complex dependence on temperature1. They propose a related experiment that could clarify the theory around this important interaction, which has widespread applications in physics and astronomy, and could eventually be exploited in nano-sized electrical and mechanical systems.

“The Casimir force is one of the most interesting macroscopic effects of vacuum oscillations in a quantum electromagnetic field,” says Franco Nori from RIKEN and the University of Michigan in the USA. “It arises because the presence of objects, especially conducting metals, alters the quantum fluctuations in the vacuum.”

The Casimir force was first predicted in 1948, but has only recently been measured in the laboratory because experiments are difficult—the force is negligible except when the distance between objects is very small. More experiments are needed to understand how the force depends on temperature, an important practical consideration.

“As the temperature increases, metal objects in a vacuum experience two competing effects,” explains Sergey Savel’ev from RIKEN and Loughborough University in the UK. “They lose some of their electrical conductivity, which tends to cause a decrease in the Casimir force. At the same time they are bombarded with more radiation pressure from the thermal heat waves, and this increases the Casimir force.”

Nori and co-workers derived the temperature dependence for Casimir attractions between a thin film and a thick flat plate, and between a thin film and a large metal sphere. They found that the Casimir force will tend to decrease near room temperature, but can increase again at higher temperatures as the thermal radiation effects take over.

RIKEN’s Valery Yampol’skii, who also works at NASU, says that “if these temperature effects were observed in an experiment, they would resolve some fundamental questions about electron relaxation in a vacuum”. Such an experiment would be near-impossible with pieces of bulk metal, but could be done using extremely thin metal films.

1. Yampol’skii, V.A., Savel’ev, S., Mayselis, Z.A., Apostolov, S.S. & Nori, F. Anomalous temperature dependence of the Casimir force for thin metal films. Physical Review Letters 101, 096803 (2008).

The corresponding author for this highlight is based at the RIKEN Digital Materials Team

Saeko Okada | ResearchSEA
Further information:
http://www.rikenresearch.riken.jp/research/623/
http://www.researchsea.com

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Hubble sees Neptune's mysterious shrinking storm
16.02.2018 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht Supermassive black hole model predicts characteristic light signals at cusp of collision
15.02.2018 | Rochester Institute of Technology

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

Im Focus: Autonomous 3D scanner supports individual manufacturing processes

Let’s say the armrest is broken in your vintage car. As things stand, you would need a lot of luck and persistence to find the right spare part. But in the world of Industrie 4.0 and production with batch sizes of one, you can simply scan the armrest and print it out. This is made possible by the first ever 3D scanner capable of working autonomously and in real time. The autonomous scanning system will be on display at the Hannover Messe Preview on February 6 and at the Hannover Messe proper from April 23 to 27, 2018 (Hall 6, Booth A30).

Part of the charm of vintage cars is that they stopped making them long ago, so it is special when you do see one out on the roads. If something breaks or...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Fingerprints of quantum entanglement

16.02.2018 | Information Technology

'Living bandages': NUST MISIS scientists develop biocompatible anti-burn nanofibers

16.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Hubble sees Neptune's mysterious shrinking storm

16.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>