Casimir force measurements from silicon carbide surfaces

M. Sedighi*, V. B. Svetovoy, G. Palasantzas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Using an atomic force microscope we performed measurements of the Casimir force between a gold-coated (Au) microsphere and doped silicon carbide (SiC) samples. The last of these is a promising material for devices operating under severe environments. The roughness of the interacting surfaces was measured to obtain information for the minimum separation distance upon contact. Ellipsometry data for both systems were used to extract optical properties needed for the calculation of the Casimir force via the Lifshitz theory and for comparison to the experiment. Special attention is devoted to the separation of the electrostatic contribution to the measured total force. Our measurements demonstrate large contact potential V-0 (approximate to 0.67 V), and a relatively small density of charges trapped in SiC. Knowledge of both Casimir and electrostatic forces between interacting materials is not only important from the fundamental point of view, but also for device applications involving actuating components at separations of less than 200 nm where surface forces play dominant role.

Original languageEnglish
Article number085434
Number of pages6
JournalPhysical Review. B: Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 22-Feb-2016


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