Quantum and thermal Casimir interaction between a sphere and a plate: Comparison of Drude and plasma models

Roya Zandi 1, Thorsten Emig 2, 3, Umar Mohideen 1

Physical Review B 81 (2010) 195423

We calculate the Casimir interaction between a sphere and a plate, both described by the plasma model, the Drude model, or generalizations of the two models. We compare the results at both zero and finite temperatures. At asymptotically large separations we obtain analytical results for the interaction that reveal a non-universal, i.e., material dependent interaction for the plasma model. The latter result contains the asymptotic interaction for Drude metals and perfect reflectors as different but universal limiting cases. This observation is related to the screening of a static magnetic field by a London superconductor. For small separations we find corrections to the proximity force approximation (PFA) that support correlations between geometry and material properties that are not captured by the Lifshitz theory. Our results at finite temperatures reveal for Drude metals a non-monotonic temperature dependence of the Casimir free energy and a negative entropy over a sizeable range of separations.

  • 1. Department of Physics and Astronomy,
    University of California, Riverside
  • 2. Institut für Theoretische Physik,
    Universität zu Köln
  • 3. Laboratoire de Physique Théorique et Modèles Statistiques (LPTMS),
    CNRS : UMR8626 – Université Paris XI - Paris Sud