Ultrathin metallic coatings can induce quantum levitation between nanosurfaces

Mathias Boström*, Barry W. Ninham, Iver Brevik, Clas Persson, Drew F. Parsons, Bo E. Sernelius

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)


    There is an attractive Casimir-Lifshitz force between two silica surfaces in a liquid (bromobenze or toluene). We demonstrate that adding an ultrathin (5-50 Å) metallic nanocoating to one of the surfaces results in repulsive Casimir-Lifshitz forces above a critical separation. The onset of such quantum levitation comes at decreasing separations as the film thickness decreases. Remarkably, the effect of retardation can turn attraction into repulsion. From that we explain how an ultrathin metallic coating may prevent nanoelectromechanical systems from crashing together.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number253104
    JournalApplied Physics Letters
    Issue number25
    Publication statusPublished - 18 Jun 2012


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