Science News

Curated by RSF Research Staff

Physicist Discovers Strange Forces Acting on Nanoparticles

The attractive force between two plates attributed to fluctuations in the quantum vacuum known as the Casimir effect was predicted over 50 years ago by Hendrick Casimir and has since been measured numerous times. Recently the detection of the dynamical Casimir effect was detected in which accelerated moving plates give rise to energy in the form of microwave photons. However, in all cases the focus has been on parallel plates – albeit the plates are not truly parallel and instead consist of one flat plate and the other being part of a spherical surface of large radius.

Now for the first time an international team of researchers have analytically shown the effects of a rotating sphere next to a flat planar surface, demonstrating the effects of the force and its dependency on how close it is to the planar surface, the geometry and the rotational velocity as well as the material properties.

Investigating these effects could have huge implications for both nanotechnology and our understanding of the quantum world and unified physics.


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