Abstract

We consider a non-equilibrium system consisting of two slabs having the same temperature separated by a vacuum gap, and surrounded by vacuum with a temperature that is different from that of the slabs. We show that the force on one of the slabs can be tuned or switched by placing an additional thin layer on its exterior surface, and by changing the dielectric permittivity of this layer. Moreover, here the tuning or switching is entirely a non-equilibrium effect, and the same change does not affect the force if the system is in equilibrium. Based on this effect, we consider a switch for non-equilibrium Casimir force where a ${\rm VO}_2$ thin film is placed on the exterior surface. This switch exhibits a sharp transition in its Casimir force as a function of temperature, only when the system is out of equilibrium.

© 2020 Optical Society of America

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