Adhered cantilevers: A new method to measure dispersion forces between rough surfaces at short distances

Vitaly B. Svetovoy, George Palasantzas

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Dispersion forces start to play an important role when the bodies are separated by the distances smaller than 100 nm. Such small gaps characterize modern nano- or microelectromechanical systems. Although the forces were reliably measured and compared to the theory in the range of 30-100 nm, severe problems appear at distances shorter than 30nm due to jump-to-contact instability. In this paper we propose a new measurement method, which does not suffer the short-distance instability. The method is based on the shape of an adhered cantilever that is sensitive to the forces acting near the adhered end. Two values are measured simultaneously: the dispersion pressure at minimal separation (close to contact) and the adhesion energy. Roughness of interacting surfaces plays a crucial role. We discuss possible realization of this experiment and propose the choice of optimal parameters.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2040014
JournalModern Physics Letters A
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 16-Jan-2020


  • adhered cantilever
  • Dispersion forces
  • roughness

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