Influence of dielectric properties on van der Waals/Casimir forces in solid-liquid systems

P. J. van Zwol*, G. Palasantzas, J. Th. M. De Hosson

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

In this paper, we present calculations of van der Waals/Casimir forces, described by Lifshitz theory, for the solid-liquid-solid system using measured dielectric functions of all involved materials for the wavelength range from millimeters down to subnanometers. It is shown that even if the dielectric function is known over all relevant frequency ranges, the scatter in the dielectric data can lead to very large scatter in the calculated van der Waals/Casimir forces. Especially when the liquid dielectric function becomes comparable in magnitude to the dielectric function of one of the interacting solids, the associated variation in the force can be up to a factor of 2 for plate-plate separations 5-500 nm. This corresponds to an uncertainty up to 100% in the theory prediction for a specific system. As a result accuracy testing of the Lifshitz theory under these circumstances is rather questionable. Finally we discuss predictions of Lifshitz theory regarding multiple repulsive-attractive transitions with separation distance, as well as nontrivial scaling of the van der Waals/Casimir force with distance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number195428
Pages (from-to)195428-1-195428-8
Number of pages8
JournalPhysical Review. B: Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Volume79
Issue number19
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May-2009

Keywords

  • Casimir effect
  • dielectric function
  • gold
  • liquid theory
  • organic compounds
  • silicon compounds
  • van der Waals forces
  • water
  • DER-WAALS FORCES
  • LIFSHITZ THEORY
  • VANDERWAALS FORCES
  • OPTICAL-CONSTANTS
  • HAMAKER CONSTANTS
  • WATER
  • DERIVATIVES
  • MICROSCOPE
  • ETHANOL
  • SILICA

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