Curated by RSF Research Staff
The force of the Vacuum
Regardless of the nature and origin of the effect, which could be considered to be still under debate, the Casimir effect has been proved to act not only between fixed or moving plates micrometers appart (as the video below shows), but it also has a measurable impact in nanoparticles; objects so small that these forces can play the major role.
Video of the Casimir effect:
At separations of 10 nm – about 100 times the typical size of an atom – the Casimir effect produces the equivalent of about 1 atmosphere of pressure…
The effect of the vacuum interaction with an object has also been measured in bigger 3D structures, but there was a gap in between where the effect is now being acknowledged: 2D lattices. The effect at this scale is dominated by phonon-polaritons –coupling of virtual photons in the vacuum chamber and the phonons of the lattice-, and could play an important role in the behavior of the material. For instance, it could enhance its conductivity. In this sense, the theoretical and computational simulation performed by Michael Sentef et al., and published in Science Advances, draws a connection between these forces of the vacuum and many modern materials.
By: Ines Urdaneta, RSF research scientist