Casimir entropies due to quantum fluctuations in the interaction between electrical bodies can often be negative, either caused by dissipation or by geometry. Although generally such entropies vanish at zero temperature, consistent with the third law of thermodynamics (the Nernst heat theorem), there is a region in the space of temperature and separation between the bodies where negative entropy occurs, while positive interaction entropies arise for large distances or temperatures... Systematic studies on this phenomenon in the Casimir-Polder interaction between a polarizable nanoparticle or atom and a conducting plate in the dipole approximation have been given recently. Since the total entropy should be positive according to the second law of thermodynamics, we expect that the self-entropy of the bodies would be sufficiently positive as to overwhelm the negative interaction entropy. This expectation, however, has not been explicitly verified. Here we compute the self-entropy of an electromagnetic $\delta$-function plate, which corresponds to a perfectly conducting sheet in the strong coupling limit. The transverse electric contribution to the self-entropy is negative, while the transverse magnetic contribution is larger and positive, so the total self-entropy is positive. However, this self-entropy vanishes in the strong-coupling limit. In that case, it is the self-entropy of the nanoparticle that is just sufficient to result in a nonnegative total entropy. read more

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High Energy Physics - Theory