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ESE seminar: “Engineering the Quantum Vacuum”

February 15 at 9:30 AM - 10:30 AM

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 for useful devices. 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. Finally, I will briefly outline a few additional research areas from our lab related to novel optical phenomena, materials, and devices.

Jeremy Munday

Associate Professor of ECE, University of Maryland

Dr. Jeremy N. Munday is an Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park. He received his PhD in Physics from Harvard University and was a postdoctoral scholar at Caltech prior to his appointment at Maryland. His research themes range from quantum electromechanical phenomena (such as the Casimir effect) to fundamental solar energy conversion processes with an emphasis on the optics, photonics, and thermodynamics of such systems. He is a recipient of the DARPA Young Faculty Award, the NSF CAREER Award, the ONR Young Investigator Program Award, the OSA Adolph Lomb Medal, the IEEE Photonics Society Young Investigator Award, the SPIE Early Career Achievement Award, and the NASA Early Career Faculty Space Technology Research Award.


February 15
9:30 AM - 10:30 AM


Electrical and Systems Engineering


Wu and Chen Auditorium (Room 101), Levine Hall
3330 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104 United States
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