Department of Physics & Astronomy
University of New Mexico

Physics and Astronomy Colloquium

Engineering the Quantum Vacuum

Presented by Dr. Jeremy Munday, University of Maryland

The vacuum of space may seem empty and boring; however, this void is actually teeming with activity. According to the laws of quantum mechanics, fluctuations of electromagnetic fields are omnipresent even in empty space. These fluctuations can manifest themselves in a variety of ways, including the generation of nanoscale forces between objects -- a phenomenon known as the Casimir effect. In this talk, I will discuss our development of novel measurement techniques to probe these interactions and how we can engineer and control such quantum effects. I will demonstrate our ability to tailor the sign and magnitude of the force, as well as how we can induce rotations (i.e. a Casimir torque) between optically birefringent materials. Beyond interesting science, our ability to control these interactions will give us new opportunities for nanoscale devices and to modify chemistry and electronics in ways not previously possible.

3:30 pm, Friday, March 1, 2019
Room 125, Dane Smith Hall
Southwest corner of Las Lomas and Yale, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Refreshments will be available before the colloquium, at 3:15 pm, in the lobby of Dane Smith Hall.

Disability NoticeIndividuals with disabilities who need an auxiliary aid or service to attend or participate in P&A events should contact Sandra Ortiz (phone: 505-277-5900, email: well in advance to ensure your needs are accomodated. Event handouts can be provided in alternative accessible formats upon request. Please contact Mrs. Ortiz if you need written information in an alternative format.

A schedule of talks within the Department of Physics and Astronomy is available on the P&A web site at