Repulsive and attractive critical Casimir forces

Abstract : When confining vacuum fluctuations between two identical walls, the Casimir force manifests itself as a mutual attraction of the walls. When confining concentration fluctuations of a binary liquid mixture, an analogous force should exist near the critical temperature T; it is called the critical Casimir force. Here we show experimentally that this purely entropic force can be either attractive or repulsive, depending on the boundary conditions for the fluctuations. For symmetrical boundary conditions an attractive force is found while asymmetrical ones lead to a repulsive force. This is observed directly by confining the fluctuations in a thin (≈100A˚) wetting film. Depending on the boundary conditions either a thinning or a thickening of the film is observed when T→T.
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Salima Rafaï, Daniel Bonn, Jacques Meunier. Repulsive and attractive critical Casimir forces. Physica A, Elsevier, 2007, 386, pp.31-35. ⟨10.1016/J.PHYSA.2007.07.072⟩. ⟨hal-00802226⟩



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