[extropy-chat] Casimir Torque Project

Adrian Tymes wingcat at pacbell.net
Wed May 4 21:29:17 UTC 2005

--- scerir <scerir at libero.it> wrote:
> It seems - is not it? - like a 'lateral' Casimir force, 
> which originates from the modifications of zeropoint 
> oscillations by boundaries. It acts tangential to 2 
> surfaces with (nanoscale) periodic (ie sinusoidal) 
> 'corrugations'. 'Corrugated' plates align themselves 
> such that peaks of one plate are directly over the peaks 
> of the other plate. Then is over (unless ...?). 
> This force to align the peaks is the 'lateral' 
> Casimir force, acting in the horizontal direction, 
> between the 2 plates.

That's a distinct possibility, especially since the figure I linked to
is an idealized version if we could build things with angstrom
precision.  (The actual pattern I'm building is a blocky, pixellated
approximation: think of a 1000*1000 pixel image converted to 10*10.
The actual conversion factor I'm dealing with is even worse.)  However,
the "shields" in the figure appear to possibly introduce a
discontinuity into which the outer plate can "fall" without using any
energy.  (Were this a magnetic force, field lines would bend to snake
around the corners, and everything would balance out.  But the Casimir
effect appears to act more like optics than magnetics, and optics
allows for sharp discontinuities - think sharp-edged shadows.  This is
partly because optical "fields" are actually continual imports of
energy made up of discrete packets - photons - apparently much like the
virtual particles that cause the Casimir effect.)

This also touches on some pattern configuration issues I'm deliberately
holding back (which involves getting some positive use out of the
pixellation, if you can believe it), as they start deliving into the
mechanics of how one actually builds this.  ;)

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