Interactions between nanoobjects

Quantum fluctuations of the electromagnetic field can give rise to a force between electrically neutral objects, the so-called Casimir force. This effect becomes particularly important when the distance between objects is of the order or smaller than one micrometer. The Casimir force therefore plays an important role for the behavior of electromechanical systems on the submicrometer and nanometer scale. As these so-called MEMS and NEMS increasingly find technical applications, a very good understanding of the Casimir force, e.g. as a function of the objects' geometry and their surface properties, is required. In addition, for the description of real objects, the interaction between the electromagnetic field and the electrons in the objects involved needs to be taken into account explicitly, and in general this coupling cannot be assumed to be weak. Thus fundamental questions arise regarding the thermodynamics of open quantum systems, which receives considerable interest recently.