Emerging Regimes and Implications of Quantum and Thermal Fluctuational Electrodynamics

Coordinators: Mauro Antezza, Ricardo S. Decca, David Dean, and Alejandro Rodriguez

Scientific Advisors: Mehran Kardar and Lilia Woods

Quantum and thermal fluctuations of matter and fields lead to a wide range of micro- and macroscopic phenomena relevant to a multitude of disciplines, including condensed-matter physics, statistical mechanics, quantum thermodynamics, quantum chemistry, mechanical and materials engineering, soft-matter and nanophotonics. Important examples include the omnipresent fluctuation-induced forces (van der Waals-Casimir-Lifshitz interactions of electromagnetic origin or in critical phenomena), thermal radiation, and radiative heat transport. The fundamental role of geometry and emerging materials, the ability to efficiently model and experimentally prepare different non-equilibrium environments containing a variety of carriers, and exploration of their potential implications on quantum forces and energy transfer, are amongst the most important and exciting arenas of both fundamental interest and practical application of global energy management.

This program covers new emerging problems and ideas in the field of quantum and thermal fluctuational electrodynamics. Special attention will be given to the crucial role that these effects can play in a number of emerging areas of importance to fundamental and applied physics. Topics include: theory and experiments on quantum forces/torques and classical and quantum energy transport at different scales (from atomic to macroscopic systems, from extreme near field to near field and far field), new descriptions of radiative thermal and thermodynamic processes (e.g. near- and far-field radiative cooling, light harvesting, phonon tunneling) in presence of out-of-equilibrium and exotic/emergent materials (e.g. topological insulators, 2D materials, nano-gratings, metamaterials, nonlinear/non-reciprocal media, NEMS/MEMS), and emerging experiments, computational methods and theories on mesoscopic systems and many-body configurations. One of the main targets of this program is to bring together a large number of scientists in both theoretical, computational and experimental physics, in addition to engineers working on both fundamental and practical aspects of fluctuational electrodynamics. The program will thus involve both closely related and distant communities, and is organized such that language and open problems within the different communities can become increasingly transparent across disciplines.