Casimir force and its relation to surface tension
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionPhysical Review A. Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics. 2017, 95 (5), . 10.1103/PhysRevA.95.052127
From energy considerations there is reason to expect that the work done by Casimir forces during a slow displacement of the parallel plates reflects the free energy of the surface tension of the adjacent surfaces. We show this explicitly, for a one-component ionic fluid or plasma with qc as ionic charge, where the particles are neutralized by a uniform continuous oppositely charged background. For two equal half-planes, the surface-associated free energy for one half-plane turns out to be just one half of the total Casimir energy for the conventional Casimir setup. We also comment, from a wider perspective, on the intriguing possibility that knowledge about the magnitude of the surface tension coefficient obtained from statistical mechanics or experiments may give insight into the value of the conventional cutoff time-splitting parameter τ=t−t′ occurring in quantum field theory. A simple analysis suggests that the minimal distance τc is of the order of atomic dimensions, which is a physically natural result.