Characteristic properties of the Casimir free energy for metal films deposited on metallic plates
Physical Review A
The Casimir free energy and pressure of thin metal films deposited on metallic plates are considered using the Lifshitz theory and the Drude and plasma model approaches to the role of conduction electrons. The bound electrons are taken into account by using the complete optical data of film and plate metals. It is shown that for films of several tens of nanometers thickness the Casimir free energy and pressure calculated using these approaches differ by hundreds and thousands percent and can be
... easily discriminated experimentally. According to our results, the free energy of a metal film does not vanish in the limiting case of ideal metal if the Drude model approach is used in contradiction with the fact that the fluctuating field cannot penetrate in its interior. Numerical computations of the Casimir free energy and pressure of Ag and Au films deposited on Cu and Al plates have been performed using both theoretical approaches. It is shown that the free energy of a film can be both negative and positive depending on the metals used. For a Au film on a Ag plate and vice versa the Casimir energy of a film changes its sign with increasing film thickness. Applications of the obtained results for resolving the Casimir puzzle and the problem of stability of thin films are discussed.