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Repulsive Casimir Forces & Topological Insulators

Gabrovski, Ivo (2021) Repulsive Casimir Forces & Topological Insulators. Research Paper, Nanoscience.


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Applying boundary conditions to fluctuations of the electromagnetic field results in boundary-dependent modification of the zero-point energy and hence, also a force on the boundaries. This force is known as the Casimir force and this review describes its origins and multiple mathematical descriptions, which can be harnessed in order to calculate the force between any two bodies of any material with known optical properties. Predicted long time ago, it is in theory possible to modify the boundary conditions in a manner, which creates a repulsive force, as opposed to the usual attractive force, which is found in the vast majority of setups. Different approaches to achieve a repulsive Casimir force are discussed and compared, including forces due to boundary conditions, due to usage of metamaterials, and most importantly – due to usage of three-dimensional topological insulators. Special attention is paid to the latter, including a summary of the most important breakthroughs related to this new class of materials. It is concluded that even though the realisation of repulsive Casimir forces has been predicted in many systems and can be beneficial for a number of pplications, an undisputed piece of experimental evidence is yet to be presented. Finally, it is pointed out that better modelling of topological insulators and their electric/optical properties could lead to an understanding of the bulk and surface contributions to the force, which is presently missing from the field.

Item Type: Thesis (Research Paper)
Supervisor name: Palasantzas, G.
Degree programme: Nanoscience
Thesis type: Research Paper
Language: English
Date Deposited: 31 May 2021 10:31
Last Modified: 31 May 2021 10:31

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