Europhys. Lett.
Volume 76, Number 5, December 2006
Page(s) 822 - 828
Section Electromagnetism, optics, acoustics, heat transfer, classical mechanics, and fluid dynamics
Published online 03 November 2006
Europhys. Lett., 76 (5), pp. 822-828 (2006)
DOI: 10.1209/epl/i2006-10340-1

Vacuum-induced torque between corrugated metallic plates

R. B. Rodrigues1, P. A. Maia Neto1, A. Lambrecht2 and S. Reynaud2

1  Instituto de Física, UFRJ - Caixa Postal 68528, 21941-972 Rio de Janeiro RJ, Brazil
2  Laboratoire Kastler Brossel, CNRS, ENS, UPMC case 74, Campus Jussieu, 75252 Paris, France

received 15 August 2006; accepted in final form 4 October 2006
published online 3 November 2006

We study the torque arising between two corrugated metallic plates due to the interaction with electromagnetic vacuum. This Casimir torque can be measured with torsion pendulum techniques for separation distances as large as 1 $\un{\mu m}$. It allows one to probe the non-trivial geometry dependence of the Casimir energy in a configuration which can be evaluated theoretically with accuracy. In the optimal experimental configuration, the commonly used proximity force approximation turns out to overestimate the torque by a factor 2 or larger.

42.50.-p - Quantum optics.
03.70.+k - Theory of quantized fields.
68.35.Ct - Interface structure and roughness.

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