Levitation by Casimir forces in and out of equilibrium
November 27, 2017 - 3:00pm
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Equilibrium fluctuation-induced forces are abundant in nature, ranging from quantum electrodynamic (QED) Casimir and van der Waals forces, to their thermal analogs in fluctuating soft matter. Repulsive Casimir forces have been proposed for a variety of shapes and materials. A generalization of Earnshaw's theorem constrains the possibility of levitation by Casimir forces in equilibrium. The scattering formalism, which forms the basis of this proof, can be used to study fluctuation-induced forces for different materials, diverse geometries, both in and out of equilibrium. In the off-equilibrium context, I shall also discuss non-classical heat transfer and some manifestations of the dynamical Casimir effect.