Surprises from Maxwell's equations: Universal Spin-Momentum Locking and Giant Vacuum Friction

Tuesday, March 14, 2017 - 9:00am - 9:50am
Keller 3-180
Zubin Jacob (Purdue University)
The talk will discuss two recent developments in my group. 1) I will discuss a universal property of evanescent electromagnetic waves which is analogous to the property of spin-momentum locking of electrons on the surface of topological insulators. This phenomenon arises from causality requirements on EM waves and is described by a new electromagnetic triplet consisting of light's momentum, decay and spin. 2) I will show the existence of a unique negative frequency mirror symmetry in the Lorentz transformation equations of electromagnetic waves. This gives rise to a singular quality factor resonance between metallic Fabry-Perot plates in relative motion. I will discuss implications of this resonance for the Casimir drag force between moving plates and the possibility of lighting a fire with vacuum friction.