Random electromagnetic fields induce interactions between material objects all the way from individual atoms and molecules to macroscopic objects, being dispersion forces induced by thermal and zero-point quantum fluctuations the archetypal example.
In this talk, an overview of the forces induced by the blackbody radiation will be given. We shall focus on a relatively simple description of the light-matter interaction based on the polarizability of the material objects and a classical description of light scattering together with basic field statistics such as spatial correlations and spectral density.
With these basic tools, a good description of well known phenomena can be developed that grasps the main physical aspects of interactions induced by thermal radiation.
Following the same ideas it has been recognized that, far form thermodynamic equilibrium, the interactions can be tailored to a very large extent by designing an appropriate spectral energy density of the fluctuating electromagnetic field. We shall focus on the interactions induced between colloidal particles, submicron in size, of high refractive index in the visible range. And we shall explore the possible interactions that can eventually be achieved within realistic parameters range.