Roughness correction to the Casimir force at short separations: Contact distance and extreme value statistics

W. Broer, G. Palasantzas, J. Knoester, Vitaly Svetovoy

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    So far there has been no reliable method to calculate the Casimir force at separations comparable to the root-mean square of the height fluctuations of the surfaces. Statistical analysis of rough gold samples has revealed the presence of peaks considerably higher than the root-mean-square roughness. These peaks redefine the minimum separation distance between the bodies and can be described by extreme value statistics. Here we show that the contribution of the high peaks to the Casimir force can be calculated with the proximity force approximation, while the contribution of asperities with normal height can be evaluated perturbatively. This method provides a reliable estimate of the Casimir force at short distances, and it solves the significant, so far unexplained discrepancy between measurements of the Casimir force between rough surfaces and the results of perturbation theory. Furthermore, we illustrate the importance of our results in a technologically relevant situation.
    Original languageUndefined
    Pages (from-to)155410
    Number of pages13
    JournalPhysical review B: Condensed matter and materials physics
    Issue number15
    Publication statusPublished - 5 Apr 2012


    • EWI-22446
    • IR-82189
    • METIS-296130

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