Using the ray-optics approximation, we analyze the Casimir force in a two-dimensional domain formed by two metallic blocks adjacent to parallel metallic sidewalls, which are separated from the blocks by a finite distance h. For h>0, the ray-optics approach is not exact because diffraction effects are neglected. Nevertheless, we show that ray optics is able to qualitatively reproduce a surprising effect recently identified in an exact numerical calculation: the force between the blocks varies nonmonotonically with h. In this sense, the ray-optics approach captures an essential part of the physics of multibody interactions in this system, unlike simpler pairwise-interaction approximations such as proximity force approximations (PFA). Furthermore, by comparison to the exact numerical results, we are able to quantify the impact of diffraction on Casimir forces in this geometry.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Journal||Physical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics|
|State||Published - Dec 20 2007|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics