Volume 84, Number 1, October 2008
Article Number 11002
Number of page(s) 6
Section The Physics of Elementary Particles and Fields
Published online 23 September 2008
EPL, 84 (2008) 11002
DOI: 10.1209/0295-5075/84/11002

Effects of phase transitions in devices actuated by the electromagnetic vacuum force

A. Benassi1, 2 and C. Calandra2

1   CNR/INFM-National Research Center on nanoStructures and bioSystems at Surfaces (S3) Via Campi 213/A, I-41100 Modena, Italy, EU
2   Dipartimento di Fisica, Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia Via Campi 213/A, I-41100 Modena, Italy, EU

received 22 July 2008; accepted in final form 29 August 2008; published October 2008
published online 23 September 2008

We study the influence of the electromagnetic vacuum force on the behaviour of a model device based on materials, like germanium tellurides, that undergo fast and reversible metal-insulator transitions on passing from the crystalline to the amorphous phase. The calculations are performed at finite temperature and fully accounting for the behaviour of the material dielectric functions. The results show that the transition can be exploited to extend the distance and energy ranges under which the device can be operated without undergoing stiction phenomena. We discuss the approximation involved in adopting the Casimir expression in simulating nano- and micro- devices at finite temperature.

12.20.Ds - Quantum electrodynamics: Specific calculations.
85.85.+j - Micro- and nano-electromechanical systems (MEMS/NEMS) and devices.
78.66.Jg - Amorphous semiconductors; glasses.

© EPLA 2008