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Journal Articles New Journal of Physics Year : 2024

Universal Casimir attraction between filaments at the cell scale

Abstract

The electromagnetic Casimir interaction between dielectric objects immersed in salted water includes a universal contribution that is not screened by the solvent and therefore long-ranged. It was recently measured between two dielectric spheres under strong Debye screening. Here, we study the geometry of two parallel dielectric cylinders. We derive the Casimir free energy by using the scattering method. We show that its magnitude largely exceeds the thermal energy scale for a large parameter range. This includes length scales relevant for actin filaments and microtubules in cells. We show that the Casimir free energy is a universal function of the geometry, independent of the dielectric response functions of the cylinders, at all distances of biological interest. While multiple interactions exist between filaments in cells, this universal attractive interaction should have an important role in the cohesion of bundles of parallel filaments.

Dates and versions

hal-04170723 , version 1 (25-07-2023)

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Benjamin Spreng, Hélène Berthoumieux, Astrid Lambrecht, Anne-Florence Bitbol, Paulo A Maia Neto, et al.. Universal Casimir attraction between filaments at the cell scale. New Journal of Physics, 2024, 26 (1), pp.013009. ⟨10.1088/1367-2630/ad1846⟩. ⟨hal-04170723⟩
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