Casimir-Lifshitz Torque Enhancement by Retardation and Intervening Dielectrics

Casimir-Lifshitz Torque Enhancement by Retardation and Intervening Dielectrics

Year:2017
Author(s):David A. T. Somers and Jeremy N. Munday
Citation(s):Phys. Rev. Lett. 119, 183001 (2017)

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Abstract: We investigate two effects that lead to a surprising increase in the calculated Casimir-Lifshitz torque between anisotropic, planar, semi-infinite slabs. Retardation effects, which account for the finite speed of light, are generally assumed to decrease the strength of Casimir-Lifshitz interactions. However, the nonretarded approximation underestimates the Casimir-Lifshitz torque at small separations by as much as an order of magnitude. Also, Casimir-Lifshitz forces are typically weakened with the insertion of an intervening dielectric. However, a dielectric medium can increase the short-range Casimir-Lifshitz torque by as much as a factor of 2. The combined effects of retardation and an intervening dielectric dramatically enhance the Casimir-Lifshitz torque in the experimentally accessible regime and should not be neglected in calculation or experimental design.