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Strong Casimir force reduction by metallic surface nanostructuring



Francesco Intravaia, Stefan T. Koev, Il Woong Jung, Albert A. Talin, Paul S. Davids, Ricardo Decca, Vladimir Aksyuk, Diego A. Dalvit, Daniel Lopez


The Casimir force is a quantum-mechanical interaction arising from vacuum fluctuations of the electromagnetic (EM) field and is technologically significant in micro- and nanomechanical systems. Despite rapid progress in nanophotonics, the goal of engineering this force remains elusive, as many complex EM modes over a broad energy scale contribute simultaneously. Here we nanostructured one of two interacting gold surfaces into a high aspect ratio lamellar grating with 100 nm features. For inter-surface separation distances d above ≈ 400 nm, the measured Casimir force in vacuum decreases faster than the d^-4 power-law, reducing by up to a factor of 2 compared to the prediction of the proximity force approximation, valid for planar-like geometries. The strong force suppression, in agreement with our numerical analysis, is inconsistent with either perfect electrical conductivity or an effective medium description, and surface plasmon-like states with evanescent EM fields may play an important role. This work opens new possibilities for control of this fluctuation-induced interaction via material properties and geometric structure.
Nature Communications


Casimir force, nanofabrication, nanostructure, vacuum fluctuations, plasmons, force measurement, MEMS, NEMS, microelectromechanical, nanoelectromechanical, e-beam, electroplating


Intravaia, F. , Koev, S. , Jung, I. , Talin, A. , Davids, P. , Decca, R. , Aksyuk, V. , Dalvit, D. and Lopez, D. (2013), Strong Casimir force reduction by metallic surface nanostructuring, Nature Communications, [online], (Accessed July 15, 2024)


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Created September 26, 2013, Updated October 12, 2021