Ulf Leonhardt and Thomas Philbin of the University of St. Andrews, who previously brought us a concept for an invisible cloak, have taken one more step to make science fiction reality. By reversing what is known as the Casimir force, which governs friction on a nano-scale, the physicist team was able to levitate very small objects.
The utility of such a discovery comes in removing an obstacle for nanotechnologists building electrical circuits and tiny mechanical devices on silicon chips – much in the way removing friction on a large scale would greatly ease the engineering of a car engine. Taking advantage of the effect on a large scale is possible, but scientists say they are a long way off from developing the necessary technology.
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