Date: 29 Mar 2012

Sample-to-sample torque fluctuations in a system of coaxial randomly charged surfaces

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Abstract

Polarizable randomly charged dielectric objects have been recently shown to exhibit long-range lateral and normal interaction forces even when they are effectively net-neutral. These forces stem from an interplay between the quenched statistics of random charges and the induced dielectric image charges. This type of interaction has recently been evoked to interpret measurements of Casimir forces in vacuo, where a precise analysis of such disorder-induced effects appears to be necessary. Here we consider the torque acting on a randomly charged dielectric surface (or a sphere) mounted on a central axle next to another randomly charged surface and show that although the resultant mean torque is zero, its sample-to-sample fluctuation exhibits a long-range behavior with the separation distance between the juxtaposed surfaces and that, in particular, its root-mean-square value scales with the total area of the surfaces. Therefore, the disorder-induced torque between two randomly charged surfaces is expected to be much more pronounced than the disorder-induced lateral force and may provide an effective way to determine possible disorder effects in experiments, in a manner that is independent of the usual normal force measurement.