Casimir force driven ratchets

Thorsten Emig 1

Physical Review Letters 98 (2007) 160801

We explore the non-linear dynamics of two parallel periodically patterned metal surfaces that are coupled by the zero-point fluctuations of the electromagnetic field between them. The resulting Casimir force generates for asymmetric patterns with a time-periodically driven surface-to-surface distance a ratchet effect, allowing for directed lateral motion of the surfaces in sizeable parameter ranges. It is crucial to take into account inertia effects and hence chaotic dynamics which are described by Langevin dynamics. Multiple velocity reversals occur as a function of driving, mean surface distance, and effective damping. These transport properties are shown to be stable against weak ambient noise.

  • 1. Laboratoire de Physique Théorique et Modèles Statistiques (LPTMS),
    CNRS : UMR8626 – Université Paris XI - Paris Sud