Lorentz Center - Casimir Physics School - Workshop 2012 from 5 Mar 2012 through 16 Mar 2012
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    Casimir Physics School - Workshop 2012
    from 5 Mar 2012 through 16 Mar 2012

Description and Aim

Description and Aim

The startling realization that has emerged in the last century is that the void, that is, the complete absence of any detectable particles or energy is far from empty. Theoretically this conclusion originated around 1900 from the work of Max Planck and the early pioneers of quantum theory. A consequence of the quantum behavior of electromagnetic fields is that each field mode contains intrinsic ‘zero point’ energy ћω/2 when it is in the lowest energy state. Thus a field containing no photons - empty space - has a huge intrinsic energy density. This zero-point energy or vacuum energy has numerous observable consequences in atomic or sub-atomic physics. Moreover, two mirrors facing each other in vacuum are mutually attracted to each other by the disturbance of quantum vacuum fluctuations – a phenomenon first predicted in 1948 by the Dutch theoretical physicist Hendrik Casimir


Though the Casimir effect dates back more than 60 years, the field of Casimir physics has attracted an increasing attention in the last fifteen years, thanks to new experimental techniques based on recent technological developments in nanotechnology including atomic force microscopy, and MEMS devices. A number of novel experiments concerning the static or dynamic Casimir effect have been developed in the last few years in USA and Europe. New developments have been devoted to observations of the Casimir force in complex geometries and novel materials (phase-change materials, nanoparticles, carbon nanotubes, liquids, metamaterials etc.) with a view to applications, especially in nano-machines. Another focus is on fundamentals such as what the force can tell us about the quantum vacuum, and for example any possible relationship between zero-point energy and cosmological observations such as dark energy. In addition sufficiently accurate measurements could reveal a departure from Newtonian gravity at sub-micron separations providing insight on the new physics expected to lie beyond the standard model. On the theoretical side, Casimir effect calculations use numerous different methods ranging from quantum field theoretical approaches and renormalization methods to quantum statistical methods and scattering approaches to the wordline formalism.  


The importance of the Casimir field, in both fundamental physics and technology has been recognized in Europe and has attracted funding from the EuropeanCommission (e.g. the NANOCASE project) and now the ESF CASIMIR network that aims to foster pan-European collaborations on established problems and new trends in Casimir physics in all subject areas including surface and materials science, nanotechnologies to cosmology and quantum gravity.


The combined school-workshop aims to explore developments on a global scale in the Casimir field as an education and research forum in Casimir physics. The school will cover the basics in depth, general formalism, experiments and moving into the more advanced technical aspects, with a clear overview of the state of the art in the field. For this purpose we want to give able time for young researchers and advanced researchers to interact in class and get acquainted with each other and initiate interactions and further collaborations (starting from the school and further focused by the workshop. Subsequently, therefore, the school will be followed by a workshop with the aim to further connect people doing current advanced work in the field of surface force measurements and micro/nano technologies with those who work on current problems of quantum field theory derived forces and to expand their understanding of these forces in common problems from micro/nano technologies to gravity and laboratory cosmology:


●   Casimir school - Based partly on the CASIMIR network program, the list of topics for the school are grouped into the following three major topics: i) Casimir effect: measurement and theory, ii) Challenges in vacuum properties, iii) Casimir interfaces


●   Casimir workshop - The workshop will focus on current advanced Casimir research and common topics: Progress in Casimir forces for complex geometries - novel topologies; Measurements and calculations of Casimir forces for new materials – MEMS/NEMS; Electrostatics in force measurement: patch effects and contact potentials; Lateral and repulsive Casimir forces; Measurements and manifestations of the thermal Casimir forces, Casimir-Polder interactions with atoms, molecules or nanoparticles Vacuum energy in quantum field theory and gravitation.


The school-workshop is open to participation by the Dutch and international research community via registration at the website of the Lorentz Center.


Non-invited participants will be informed on their admission by 1 February 2012 at the latest. Their admission to the school - workshop is at the discretion of the organizers.