We predict that a low-permittivity oblate body (disk-shaped object) above a thin metal substrate (plate with a hole) immersed in a fluid of intermediate permittivity will experience a metastable equilibrium (restoring force) near the center of the hole. Stability is the result of a geometry-induced transition in the sign of the force, from repulsive to attractive, that occurs as the disk approaches the hole - in planar or nearly planar geometries, the same material combination yields a repulsive force at all separations, in accordance with the Dzyaloshinski-Lifshitz-Pitaevski condition of fluid-induced repulsion between planar bodies. We explore the stability of the system with respect to rotations and lateral translations of the disks and demonstrate interesting transitions (bifurcations) in the rotational stability of the disks as a function of their size. Finally, we consider the reciprocal situation in which the disk-plate materials are interchanged and find that in this case the system also exhibits metastability. The forces in the system are sufficiently large to be observed in experiments and should enable measurements based on the diffusion dynamics of the suspended bodies.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy(all)