Nonequilibrium Tuning of the Thermal Casimir Effect

David S. Dean, Bing-Sui Lu, A. C. Maggs, Rudolf Podgornik
2016 Physical Review Letters  
In net-neutral systems correlations between charge fluctuations generate strong attractive thermal Casimir forces and engineering these forces to optimize nanodevice performance is an important challenge. We show how the normal and lateral thermal Casimir forces between two plates containing Brownian charges can be modulated by decorrelating the system through the application of an electric field, which generates a nonequilibrium steady state with a constant current in one or both plates,
more » ... both plates, reducing the ensuing fluctuation-generated normal force while at the same time generating a lateral drag force. This hypothesis is confirmed by detailed numerical simulations as well as an analytical approach based on stochastic density functional theory.
doi:10.1103/physrevlett.116.240602 pmid:27367374 fatcat:5hydqmafsfarrkhtzkdfjxfuai