A Materials Perspective on Casimir and van der Waals Interactions

L. M. Woods 1 D. A. R. Dalvit 2 A. Tkatchenko 3, 4 P. Rodriguez-Lopez 5 A. W. Rodriguez 6 R. Podgornik 7, 8, 9

Reviews of Modern Physics, American Physical Society, 2016, 88, pp.045003

Interactions induced by electromagnetic fluctuations, such as van der Waals and Casimir forces, are of universal nature present at any length scale between any types of systems with finite dimensions. Such interactions are important not only for the fundamental science of materials behavior, but also for the design and improvement of micro- and nano-structured devices. In the past decade, many new materials have become available, which has stimulated the need of understanding their dispersive interactions. The field of van der Waals and Casimir forces has experienced an impetus in terms of developing novel theoretical and computational methods to provide new insights in related phenomena. The understanding of such forces has far reaching consequences as it bridges concepts in materials, atomic and molecular physics, condensed matter physics, high energy physics, chemistry and biology. In this review, we summarize major breakthroughs and emphasize the common origin of van der Waals and Casimir interactions. We examine progress related to novel ab initio modeling approaches and their application in various systems, interactions in materials with Dirac-like spectra, force manipulations through nontrivial boundary conditions, and applications of van der Waals forces in organic and biological matter. The outlook of the review is to give the scientific community a materials perspective of van der Waals and Casimir phenomena and stimulate the development of experimental techniques and applications.

  • 1. USF – University of South Florida
  • 2. Theoretical Division [LANL]
  • 3. FHI – Fritz-Haber-Institut der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft [Berlin]
  • 4. University of Luxembourg [Luxembourg]
  • 5. LPTMS – Laboratoire de Physique Théorique et Modèles Statistiques
  • 6. Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
  • 7. University of Massachusetts
  • 8. IJS – Jozef Stefan Institute [Ljubljana, Slovenia]
  • 9. University of Ljubljana (SLOVENIA)
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