Surface roughness occurs in a wide variety of processes where it is both difficult to avoid and control. When two bodies are separated by a small distance the roughness starts to play an important role in the interaction between the bodies, their adhesion, and friction. Control of this short-distance interaction is crucial for micro and nanoelectromechanical devices, microfluidics, and for micro and nanotechnology. An important short-distance interaction is the dispersion forces, which are omnipresent due to their quantum origin. These forces between flat bodies can be described by the Lifshitz theory that takes into account the actual optical properties of interacting materials. However, this theory cannot describe rough bodies. The problem is complicated by the nonadditivity of the dispersion forces. Evaluation of the roughness effect becomes extremely difficult when roughness is comparable with the distance between bodies. In this paper we review the current state of the problem. Introduction for non-experts to physical origin of the dispersion forces is given in the paper. Critical experiments demonstrating the nonadditivity of the forces and strong influence of roughness on the interaction between bodies are reviewed. We also describe existing theoretical approaches to the problem. Recent advances in understanding the role of high asperities on the forces at distances close to contact are emphasized. Finally, some opinions about currently unsolved problems are also presented. (C) 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
- Dispersion forces
- CASIMIR FORCE
- MICROELECTROMECHANICAL SYSTEMS