Observation of the Thermal Casimir Force is Open to Question

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We discuss theoretical predictions for the thermal Casimir force and compare them with available experimental data. Special attention is paid to the recent claim of the observation of that effect, as predicted by the Drude model approach. We show that this claim is in contradiction with a number of experiments reported so far. We suggest that the experimental errors, as reported in support of the observation of the thermal Casimir force, are significantly underestimated. Furthermore, the experimental data at separations above 3μm are shown to be in agreement not with the Drude model approach, as is claimed, but with the plasma model. The seeming agreement of the data with the Drude model at separations below 3μm is explained by the use of an inadequate formulation of the proximity force approximation.

The experimental data for the magnitude of the mean measured force multiplied by separation are show as crosses. The arms of the crosses indicate the experimental errors.The grey and black lines demonstrate the best fit to the experimental data of the total theoretical force (electric plus Casimir) computed using the Drude and plasma model approaches, respectively, with two fitting parameters.

During the last ten years much attention has been given to the Casimir force at nonzero temperature. This physical phenomenon is described by the Lifshitz theory which presents the Casimir free energy and force between two parallel plates as a functional of the dielectric permittivity of plate materials calculated along the imaginary frequency axis….
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Written by physicsgg

August 30, 2011 at 11:45 am


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