Volume 95, Number 2, July 2011
|Number of page(s)||6|
|Section||The Physics of Elementary Particles and Fields|
|Published online||24 June 2011|
Non-equilibrium Casimir forces: Spheres and sphere-plate
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Physics - Cambridge, MA 02139, USA
2 Laboratoire de Physique Théorique et Modèles Statistiques, CNRS UMR 8626, Bât. 100, Université Paris-Sud 91405 Orsay cedex, France, EU
3 Dipartimento di Scienze Fisiche, Università di Napoli Federico II, Complesso Universitario MSA Via Cintia, I-80126 Napoli, Italy, EU
4 INFN Sezione di Napoli - I-80126 Napoli, Italy, EU
Accepted: 7 June 2011
We discuss non-equilibrium extensions of the Casimir force (due to electromagnetic fluctuations), where the objects as well as the environment are held at different temperatures. While the formalism we develop is quite general, we focus on a sphere in front of a plate, as well as two spheres, when the radius is small compared to separation and thermal wavelengths. In this limit the forces can be expressed analytically in terms of the lowest-order multipoles, and corroborated with results obtained by diluting parallel plates of vanishing thickness. Non-equilibrium forces are generally stronger than their equilibrium counterpart, and may oscillate with separation (at a scale set by material resonances). For both geometries we obtain stable points of zero net force, while two spheres may have equal forces in magnitude and direction resulting in a self-propelling state.
PACS: 12.20.-m – Quantum electrodynamics / 44.40.+a – Thermal radiation / 42.25.Fx – Diffraction and scattering
© EPLA, 2011
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