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Home > News > Perfect lens could reverse Casimir force

August 3rd, 2007

Perfect lens could reverse Casimir force

The mysterious attraction between two neutral, conducting surfaces in a vacuum was first described in 1948 by Henrik Casimir and cannot be explained by classical physics. Instead it is a purely quantum effect involving the zero-point oscillations of the electromagnetic field surrounding the surfaces. These fluctuations exert a "radiation pressure" on the surfaces and the overall force is weaker in the gap between the surfaces than elsewhere, drawing the surfaces together. Tiny though it is, the Casimir effect becomes significant at distances of micrometres or less and actually causes parts in nano- and micro-electromechanical systems (NEMS and MEMS) to stick together.


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