A Predicted Repulsive Casimir Effect Using Exotic Chiral Metamaterials
Date: Wednesday, December 09, 2009 @ 21:37:26 GMT
Laboratory research team discovers a new use for metamaterials that promises to
eliminate mechanical friction in nanotechnology
The groundbreaking research, conducted through mathematical
simulations, revealed the possibility of a new class of materials able
to exert a repulsive force when they are placed in extremely close
proximity to each other. The repulsive force, which harnesses a quantum
phenomenon known as the Casimir effect, may someday allow nanoscale
machines to overcome mechanical friction.
The findings were
published in the Sept. 4, 2009 issue of Physical Review Letters, in an
article entitled, “Repulsive Casimir Force in Chiral Metamaterials.”
this new discovery demonstrates that a repulsive Casimir effect is
possible using chiral metamaterials. Chiral materials share an
interesting characteristic: their molecular structure prevents them
from being superimposed over a reverse copy of themselves, in the same
way a human hand cannot fit perfectly atop a reverse image of itself.
Chiral materials are fairly common in nature. The sugar molecule
(sucrose) is one example. However, natural chiral materials are
incapable of producing a repulsive Casimir effect that is strong enough
to be of practical use...