Volume 82, Number 6, June 2008
Article Number 61002
Number of page(s) 6
Section The Physics of Elementary Particles and Fields
Published online 03 June 2008
EPL, 82 (2008) 61002
DOI: 10.1209/0295-5075/82/61002

Vacuum fluctuation forces between ultra-thin films

A. Benassi1, 2 and C. Calandra2

1  CNR/INFM-National Research Center on nanoStructures and bioSystems at Surfaces (S3) Via Campi 213/A, I-41100 Modena, Italy, EU
2  Dipartimento di Fisica, Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia Via Campi 213/A, I-41100 Modena, Italy, EU

received 17 March 2008; accepted in final form 29 April 2008; published June 2008
published online 3 June 2008

We have investigated the role of the quantum size effects in the evaluation of the force caused by electromagnetic vacuum fluctuations between ultra-thin films, using the dielectric tensor derived from the particle in a box model. Comparison with the results obtained by adopting a continuum dielectric model shows that, for film thicknesses of 1$\hbox{--}$10 nm, the electron confinement causes changes in the force intensity with respect to the isotropic plasma model which range from 40% to few percent depending upon the film electron density and the film separation. The calculated force shows quantum size oscillations, which can be significant for film separation distances of several nanometers. The role of electron confinement in reducing the large distance Casimir force is discussed.

12.20.Ds - Quantum electrodynamics: Specific calculations.
68.65.Fg - Quantum wells. - Finite-size systems.

© EPLA 2008