Fluctuation-induced phenomena in nanoscale systems: Harnessing the power of noise

M. T.Homer Reid, Alejandro W. Rodriguez, Steven G. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


The famous Johnson-Nyquist formula relating noise current to conductance has a microscopic generalization relating noise current density to microscopic conductivity, with corollary relations governing noise in the components of the electromagnetic fields. These relations, known collectively in physics as fluctuation-dissipation relations, form the basis of the modern understanding of fluctuation-induced phenomena, a field of burgeoning importance in experimental physics and nanotechnology. In this review, we survey recent progress in computational techniques for modeling fluctuation-induced phenomena, focusing on two cases of particular interest: near-field radiative heat transfer and Casimir forces. In each case we review the basic physics of the phenomenon, discuss semianalytical and numerical algorithms for theoretical analysis, and present recent predictions for novel phenomena in complex material and geometric configurations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6230597
Pages (from-to)531-545
Number of pages15
JournalProceedings of the IEEE
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • General Computer Science


  • Boundary-element
  • CAD
  • Casimir effect
  • Johnson
  • Nyquist
  • finite-difference
  • fluctuation
  • heat transfer
  • modeling
  • noise
  • radiation
  • simulation


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