Physicists Float a New Theory of Levitation

Frictionless parts could fly through the air with the greatest of ease
By Heather McPherson,  Newser User
Posted Aug 7, 2007 7:32 AM CDT
Casimir effect and vacuum fluctuations: roughly speaking, the difference in the pressure of the quantum vacuum inside and outside the cavity causes the plates to attract each other.   (Ulf Leonhardt)
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(Newser) – Two Scottish physics professors have published a report on forces of attraction that could be used to make objects levitate, writes the Telegraph. They've engineered a way to reverse the Casimir force, which normally causes elements to stick together. The discovery may lead to frictionless levitating parts in small mechanical systems.

The report has substantial consequences for the growing field of nanotechnology, where the Casimir force causes microscopic objects to stick together. Eliminating friction in small-scale electromechanical systems would lead to greater efficiency and solve one of the central problems of nanoengineering. The professors' report could even have larger-scale applications: in theory, a human being could levitate following the same principles.