Marie Curie Career Integration Grant "CriticalForce" awarded to the Soft Matter Lab

August 1, 2012

Nanoscience and nanotechnology are in the process of revolutionising the way we
live and do science. In the context of this drive towards the nanoscale, the
specific aim of the present project to provide new tools to harness forces and
interactions at mesoscopic and nanoscopic length-scales, e.g., the forces arising
between several nanodevices, by gaining a better understanding and by exploring
possible applications of critical Casimir forces. Critical Casimir forces are
interesting from the fundamental point of view as a manifestation of critical
phenomena, but also, and perhaps more importantly, from the technological point
of view, e.g., as a tunable mechanism to prevent the sticking in MEMS and NEMS
(micro- and nanoelectromechanical systems) due to QED (quantum-electrodynamical)
Casimir forces. The experimental study of critical Casimir forces acting on
microscopic object is a fairly new field of research, which can benefit from the
novel techniques we are going to deploy within this proposal.

The project will run for four years, from 2012 to 2016.