The effect of patch potentials in Casimir force measurements determined by heterodyne Kelvin probe force microscopy

The effect of patch potentials in Casimir force measurements determined by heterodyne Kelvin probe force microscopy

Year:2015
Author(s):Joseph L Garrett, David Somers, Jeremy N Munday
Citation(s):J. Phys.: Condens. Matter 27, 214012 (2015)

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Abstract: Measurements of the Casimir force require the elimination of the electrostatic force between the surfaces. However, due to electrostatic patch potentials, the voltage required to minimize the total force may not be sufficient to completely nullify the electrostatic interaction. Thus, these surface potential variations cause an additional force, which can obscure the Casimir force signal. In this paper, we inspect the spatially varying surface potential of e-beamed, sputtered, sputtered and annealed, and template stripped gold surfaces with Heterodyne amplitude modulated Kelvin probe force microscopy (HAM-KPFM). It is demonstrated that HAM-KPFM improves the spatial resolution of surface potential measurements compared to amplitude modulated Kelvin probe force microscopy. We find that patch potentials vary depending on sample preparation, and that the calculated pressure can be similar to the pressure difference between Casimir force calculations employing the plasma and Drude models.