Novel applications of Maxwell's equations to quantum and thermal phenomena
Author(s)McCauley, Alexander P. (Alexander Patrick)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Physics.
Steven G. Johnson and John D. Joannopoulos.
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This thesis is concerned with the extension of Maxwell's equations to situations far removed from standard electromagnetism, in order to discover novel phenomena. We discuss our contributions to the efforts to describe quantum fluctuations, known as Casimir forces, in terms of classical electromagnetism. We prove that chirality in metamaterials can have no appreciable effect on the Casimir force, and design an alternative metamaterial in which the structure can have a strong effect on the Casimir force. We present a geometry that exhibits a repulsive Casimir force between metallic objects in vacuum, and describe our efforts to enhance this repulsive force using the numerical techniques that we and others developed. We then show how our techniques can be extended to study the physics of near-field radiative heat transfer, computing for the first time the exact heat transfer and power flux profiles between a plate and non-spherical objects. We find in particular that the heat flux profile is non-monotonic in separation from the cone tip. Finally, we demonstrate how techniques to compute photonic bandstructures in periodic systems can be extended to certain types of quasi-periodic structures, termed photonic-quasicrystals (PQCs).
Thesis (Ph. D.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Physics, 2011.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (p. 229-244).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Physics.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology