Offsets in Electrostatically Determined Distances: Implications for Casimir Force Measurements

Source: arXiv


The imperfect termination of static electric fields at semiconducting
surfaces has been long known in solid state and transistor physics. We show
that the imperfect shielding leads to an offset in the distance between two
surfaces as determined by electrostatic force measurements. The effect exists
even in the case of good conductors (metals) albeit much reduced.

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    ABSTRACT: We have measured the short-range attractive force between crystalline Ge plates, and found contributions from both the Casimir force and an electrical force possibly generated by surface patch potentials. Using a model of surface patch effects that generates an additional force due to a distance dependence of the apparent contact potential, the electrical force was parametrized using data at distances where the Casimir force is relatively small. Extrapolating this model, to provide a correction to the measured force at distances less than 5 microm, shows a residual force that is in agreement, within experimental uncertainty, with five models that have been used to calculate the Casimir force.
    Physical Review Letters 08/2009; 103(6):060401. DOI:10.1103/PHYSREVLETT.103.060401 · 7.51 Impact Factor


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