Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Argonne scientists to control attractive force for nanoelectromechanical systems

MEMS used to detect the presence of the Casimir Force. Photo courtesy Argonne National Laboratory.
MEMS used to detect the presence of the Casimir Force. Photo courtesy Argonne National Laboratory.

DARPA to provide funding to quell Casimir force

Argonne scientists to control attractive force for nanoelectromechanical systems

Argonne, IL | Posted on January 4th, 2010

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory are developing a way to control the Casimir force, a quantum mechanical force which attracts objects when they are only a hundred nanometers apart.

"The Casimir force is so small that most experimentation has dealt simply with its characteristics," said Derrick Mancini, interim director of Argonne's Center for Nanoscale Materials. "If we can control this force or make it repulsive, it can have dramatic effects on the development of nanoelectromechanical systems."

Nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS) are nano-meter size mechanical devices that can be used for actuation or sensing at the nano-scale. Many NEMS devices are currently being developed for unique applications in sensing, telecommunications, signal processing, data storage and more. In the macro world, the Casimir force is so small that it can barely be detected, but at the nanoscale it becomes a quantum effect that scientists cannot currently control.

"As characteristic device dimensions shrink to the nanoscale, the effects of the attractive Casimir force become more pronounced, making very difficult to control nano-devices. This is a technological challenge that needs to be addressed before the full potential of NEMS devices can be demonstrated," scientist Daniel Lopez said. "The goal is to not only limit its attractive properties, but also to make it repulsive. A repulsive force acting at the nano-scale would allow engineers to design novel NEMS devices capable of frictionless motion through nanolevitation."

The approach to controlling this force involves nanostructuring the interacting surfaces to tune the effects of the Casimir force.

Argonne National Laboratory was recently selected by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop mechanisms to control and manipulate the Casimir force. This program will be developed in close partnership with Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis, National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST) and Los Alamos National Laboratory.

The Center for Nanoscale Materials at Argonne National Laboratory is one of the five DOE Nanoscale Science Research Centers (NSRCs), premier national user facilities for interdisciplinary research at the nanoscale, supported by the DOE Office of Science. Together, the NSRCs comprise a suite of complementary facilities that provide researchers with state-of-the-art capabilities to fabricate, process, characterize and model nanoscale materials and constitute the largest infrastructure investment of the National Nanotechnology Initiative. The NSRCs are located at DOE's Argonne, Brookhaven, Lawrence Berkeley, Oak Ridge, Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories. For more information about the DOE NSRCs, please visit


About Argonne National Laboratory
Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation's first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America 's scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science.

For more information, please click here

Brock Cooper

Copyright © Argonne National Laboratory

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press


New breed of optical soliton wave discovered September 9th, 2016

NREL discovery creates future opportunity in quantum computing: Research into perovskites looks beyond material's usage for efficient solar cells September 9th, 2016

Location matters in the self-assembly of nanoclusters: Iowa State University scientists have developed a new formulation to explain an aspect of the self-assembly of nanoclusters on surfaces that has broad applications for nanotechnology September 8th, 2016

University of Akron researchers find thin layers of water can become ice-like at room temperature: Results could lead to an assortment of anti-friction solutions August 30th, 2016


Integration of novel materials with silicon chips makes new 'smart' devices possible July 25th, 2016

Nano-photonics meets nano-mechanics: Controlling on-chip nano-optics by graphene nano-opto-mechanics January 22nd, 2016

Mechanical quanta see the light January 20th, 2016

Nanodevices at one-hundredth the cost: New techniques for building microelectromechanical systems show promise December 20th, 2015


Crystalline Fault Lines Provide Pathway for Solar Cell Current: New tomographic AFM imaging technique reveals that microstructural defects, generally thought to be detrimental, actually improve conductivity in cadmium telluride solar cells September 26th, 2016

Tattoo therapy could ease chronic disease: Rice-made nanoparticles tested at Baylor College of Medicine may help control autoimmune diseases September 23rd, 2016

PHENOMEN is a FET-Open Research Project aiming to lay the foundations a new information technology September 19th, 2016

NIST Patents Single-Photon Detector for Potential Encryption and Sensing Apps September 16th, 2016

Molecular Machines

NIST illuminates transfer of nanoscale motion through microscale machine September 14th, 2016

Measuring forces in the DNA molecule: First direct measurements of base-pair bonding strength September 13th, 2016

A versatile method to pattern functionalized nanowires: A team of researchers from Hokkaido University has developed a versatile method to pattern the structure of 'nanowires,' providing a new tool for the development of novel nanodevices September 9th, 2016

Legions of nanorobots target cancerous tumors with precision: Administering anti-cancer drugs redefined August 16th, 2016

Memory Technology

Making the switch, this time with an insulator: Colorado State University physicists, joining the fundamental pursuit of using electron spins to store and manipulate information, have demonstrated a new approach to doing so, which could prove useful in the application of low-powe September 2nd, 2016

Diamonds and quantum information processing on the nano scale August 31st, 2016

Magnetic atoms arranged in neat rows: FAU physicists enable one-dimensional atom chains to grow August 5th, 2016

New metamaterials can change properties with a flick of a light-switch: Material can lead to new optical devices August 3rd, 2016


Leti and Taiwanese Tech Organizations Sponsoring Workshop in Taipei on MEMS, IoT, Smart Lighting Applications, System Reliability & Security September 28th, 2016

Researchers at the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology show that bending semiconductors generates electricity September 26th, 2016

Chains of nanogold – forged with atomic precision September 23rd, 2016

Speedy bacteria detector could help prevent foodborne illnesses September 21st, 2016


Picosun patents ALD nanolaminate to prevent electronics from overheating September 28th, 2016

Leti and Taiwanese Tech Organizations Sponsoring Workshop in Taipei on MEMS, IoT, Smart Lighting Applications, System Reliability & Security September 28th, 2016

Fighting cancer with sticky nanoparticles September 27th, 2016

Gold nanoparticles conjugated quercetin inhibits epithelial-mesenchymal transition, angiogenesis and invasiveness via EGFR/VEGFR-2 mediated pathway in breast cancer September 27th, 2016

Quantum nanoscience

Chains of nanogold – forged with atomic precision September 23rd, 2016

Notre Dame researchers find transition point in semiconductor nanomaterials September 6th, 2016

NREL Discovery Creates Future Opportunity in Quantum Computing: Research into perovskites looks beyond material’s usage for efficient solar cells September 1st, 2016

Light and matter merge in quantum coupling: Rice University physicists probe photon-electron interactions in vacuum cavity experiments August 24th, 2016

The latest news from around the world, FREE

  Premium Products
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More

Nanotechnology Now Featured Books


The Hunger Project

Car Brands
Buy website traffic