Noncontact racK and pinion powered by the lateral Casimir force

Phys Rev Lett. 2007 Apr 6;98(14):140801. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.98.140801. Epub 2007 Apr 5.


The lateral Casimir force is employed to propose a design for a potentially wear-proof rack and pinion with no contact, which can be miniaturized to the nanoscale. The robustness of the design is studied by exploring the relation between the pinion velocity and the rack velocity in the different domains of the parameter space. The effects of friction and added external load are also examined. It is shown that the device can hold up extremely high velocities, unlike what the general perception of the Casimir force as a weak interaction might suggest.