Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Raising the prospects for quantum levitation

Date:
April 18, 2012
Source:
American Institute of Physics
Summary:
An eerie quantum force may one day help separate the surfaces in tiny machines for frictionless movement. More than half-a-century ago, the Dutch theoretical physicist Hendrik Casimir calculated that two mirrors placed facing each other in a vacuum would attract. The mysterious force arises from the energy of virtual particles flitting into and out of existence, as described by quantum theory. Now a scientist in Japan, has predicted that in certain circumstances a reversal in the direction of the so-called Casimir force would be enough to levitate an extremely thin plate.

An eerie quantum force may one day help separate the surfaces in tiny machines for frictionless movement. More than half-a-century ago, the Dutch theoretical physicist Hendrik Casimir calculated that two mirrors placed facing each other in a vacuum would attract. The mysterious force arises from the energy of virtual particles flitting into and out of existence, as described by quantum theory. Now Norio Inui, a scientist from the University of Hyogo in Japan, has predicted that in certain circumstances a reversal in the direction of the so-called Casimir force would be enough to levitate an extremely thin plate.

His calculations are published in the American Institute of Physics' (AIP) Journal of Applied Physics.

The Casimir force pushes identical plates together, but changes in the geometry and material properties of one of the plates can reverse the direction of the force. Inui calculated that a nanometer-thick plate made from a material called yttrium iron garnet (YIG) could hover half a micrometer above a gold plate. One key finding is that the repulsive force increases as the YIG plate gets thinner.

This is convenient since the weight of the plate, and hence the magnitude of the force needed to levitate it, shrinks in tandem with the thickness. Right now the levitating plates exist solely in the theoretical realm.

As a next step, many key assumptions in the calculations will need to be experimentally tested. If the models stand up to further scrutiny, possible applications could include levitating the gyroscopes in micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) and keeping the various components of nanomachines from sticking together.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Institute of Physics. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Norio Inui. Quantum levitation of a thin magnetodielectric plate on a metallic plate using the repulsive Casimir force. Journal of Applied Physics, 2012; 111 (7): 074304 DOI: 10.1063/1.3698619

Cite This Page:

American Institute of Physics. "Raising the prospects for quantum levitation." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 April 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120418135132.htm>.
American Institute of Physics. (2012, April 18). Raising the prospects for quantum levitation. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120418135132.htm
American Institute of Physics. "Raising the prospects for quantum levitation." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120418135132.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Newsy (July 29, 2014) A report from the White House warns not curbing greenhouse gas emissions could cost the U.S. billions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stranded Whale Watching Boat Returns to Boston

Stranded Whale Watching Boat Returns to Boston

Reuters - US Online Video (July 29, 2014) Passengers stuck overnight on a whale watching boat return safely to Boston. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Baluchistan Mining Eyes an Uncertain Future

Baluchistan Mining Eyes an Uncertain Future

AFP (July 29, 2014) Coal mining is one of the major industries in Baluchistan but a lack of infrastructure and frequent accidents mean that the area has yet to hit its potential. Duration: 01:58 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short

Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short

AP (July 29, 2014) The U.S. nuclear industry started building its first new plants using prefabricated Lego-like blocks meant to save time and prevent the cost overruns that crippled the sector decades ago. So far, it's not working. (July 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins