Scientists Reverse Casimir Effect

August 6, 2007 |

St Andrews scientists have discovered a new way of levitating tiny objects – paving the way for future applications in nanotechnology.

Theoretical physicists at the University of St Andrews have created `incredible levitation effects’ by engineering the force of nature which normally causes objects to stick together by quantum force. By reversing this phenomenon, known as `Casimir force’, the scientists hope to solve the problem of tiny objects sticking together in existing novel nanomachines.

Professor Ulf Leonhardt and Dr Thomas Philbin of the University’s School of Physics & Astronomy believe that they can engineer the Casimir force of quantum physics to cause an object to repel rather than attract another in a vacuum.

Casimir force (discovered in 1948 and first measured in 1997) can be demonstrated in a gecko’s ability to stick to a surface with just one toe. However, it can cause practical problems in nanotechnology, and ways of preventing tiny objects from sticking to each other is the source of much interest.

Professor Leonhardt explained, “The Casimir force is the ultimate cause of friction in the nano-world, in particular in some microelectromechanical systems. Such systems already play an important role – for example tiny mechanical devices which triggers a car airbag to inflate or those which power tiny `lab on chip’ devices used for drugs testing or chemical analysis. Micro or nano machines could run smoother and with less or no friction at all if one can manipulate the force.”

The pair have worked out how to turn the normally `sticky’ quantum force of empty space from attraction to repulsion using a specially developed lens placed between two objects.

“In order to reduce friction in the nanoworld, turning nature’s stickiness into repulsion could be the ultimate remedy. Instead of sticking together, parts of micromachinery would levitate,” said Professor Leonhardt.

Though it is possible in principle for humans to levitate, scientists are a long way off developing the technology for such feats.

“At the moment, in practice it is only going to be possible for micro-objects with the current technology, since this quantum force is small and acts only at short ranges. For now, human levitation remains the subject of cartoons, fairytales and tales of the paranormal,” explained Professor Leonhardt.


7 Responses to Scientists Reverse Casimir Effect

  1. Anonymous May 20, 2010 at 12:44 pm #

    wow thats awesome man. thats so cool. really cool. i can’t wait untill we have flying cars and shit. everyone should know about the casimir effect its just so awesome. thats so cool. this web site is awesome too

  2. Anonymous February 14, 2009 at 10:03 pm #

    I believe the effect is real, its reversal is a big discovery in physics. The casimir effect is the sum of the photoelectric analogues happening within matter and all of its dimensions with the entire EM spectrum. I believe properties like mass and inertia are the same as quantum spin properties of matter, specifically, gravity corresponds to the integral of electron position with time, the fifth dimension. With the sixth dimension you’d be looking at gravity waves, and a smaller scale “particle” of matter.
    Does information need to travel slower than the speed of light? In fact, faster than light travel will not allow time travel to the future, only glimpses of the past and present at remote locations. I think multidimensionality is a much bigger part of life than most people let on. Think of what it means if the very structure of our beings is linked to a superluminal field. Think about it: does a wave without a medium make any sense? Could the “graviton” be that particle, that which the EM waves perpetuate through?
    Einstien had some serious problems with the implications of non-locality on quantum theory as well as Heisenberg ‘s uncertainty principle. While it is true that observation effects the experiment, it does not follow that there is no reality. There is much more to reality than the photons hitting our retinas.

  3. Anonymous January 14, 2009 at 7:01 am #

    Casimir extended the microscopic van der Waals force between atoms in a gas to the attraction between macroscopic structures in a vacuum.

    However, recent experiments at Harvard have suggested that the Casimir force can be changed from attraction to repulsion by immersing gold spheres and silicon plates in liquid bromobenzene.

    But the Harvard experiment not only falsely presupposes the attractive Casimir force exists, but then extends that falsity to conclude the attractive Casimir force can be changed to repulsion.

    In fact, both attractive and repulsive Casimir forces do not exist.

    Casimir did not conserve the EM radiation in the gap between structures, for if he would have, Casimir would have found the frequency of the EM radiation increases by QED as the gap decreases to maintain the necessary constant EM energy. Since the gradient of the constant EM energy with respect to the gap vanishes, there is no Casimir force.

    However, at gaps less than 200 nm, the EM radiation reaches VUV levels and the structures charge oppositely by the photoelectric effect. Hence, the attractive force measured in Casimir experiments is electrostatic from QED induced VUV radiation.

    In the Harvard experiment, the attractive QED induced electrostatic force of oppositely charged gold and silicon structures is changed to repulsion upon immersion in bromobenzene because the latter is an electron scavenger that alters charge distribution.

    Thomas Prevenslik

  4. Anonymous May 26, 2008 at 5:20 pm #

    my girl crazy, man!

  5. Anonymous May 26, 2008 at 5:19 pm #

    my girl crazy, man!

  6. Anonymous May 26, 2008 at 5:19 pm #

    my girl crazy, man!

  7. Brian Sallur August 20, 2007 at 9:45 pm #

    The Casimir affect is a perfect example of the function of the Vacuum of space (Aether) releasing from the “potential ” source of all energies to real energy.

    All energies have to extracted from some where.
    So it goes with out saying, that the Aether contains all energies in an invisible and unmeasurable and undetectable condition, which is in a potential form, and is extracted on demand.

    The interface between this immutable source is always on the verge of releasing what ever energy is required.

    Gravity is an other good example.
    A body in space , having mass (density) and size ( capture area) will compulsorily acquire. Gravity , from the same source.

    When two plates are brought close together then the potential photons of energy are encouraged to be released from the Aether
    as a result of the electron’s resonant condition of the plates , as is achieved during the radiation of energies from the antenna during radio frequency transmissions.

    many thanks. B. Sallur (Our web site is in the process up upgrade)

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