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Phys Rev Lett. 2001 Nov 19;87(21):211801. Epub 2001 Oct 31.

Nonlinear micromechanical Casimir oscillator.

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Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies, Murray Hill, New Jersey 07974, USA.


The Casimir force between uncharged metallic surfaces originates from quantum-mechanical zero-point fluctuations of the electromagnetic field. We demonstrate that this quantum electrodynamical effect has a profound influence on the oscillatory behavior of microstructures when surfaces are in close proximity (< or =100 nm). Frequency shifts, hysteretic behavior, and bistability caused by the Casimir force are observed in the frequency response of a periodically driven micromachined torsional oscillator.

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