Materials perspective on Casimir and van der Waals interactions

L. M. Woods, D. A.R. Dalvit, A. Tkatchenko, P. Rodriguez-Lopez, A. W. Rodriguez, R. Podgornik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

286 Scopus citations


Interactions induced by electromagnetic fluctuations, such as van der Waals and Casimir forces, are of universal nature present at any length scale between any types of systems. Such interactions are important not only for the fundamental science of materials behavior, but also for the design and improvement of micro- and nanostructured devices. In the past decade, many new materials have become available, which has stimulated the need for understanding their dispersive interactions. The field of van der Waals and Casimir forces has experienced an impetus in terms of developing novel theoretical and computational methods to provide new insights into related phenomena. The understanding of such forces has far reaching consequences as it bridges concepts in materials, atomic and molecular physics, condensed-matter physics, high-energy physics, chemistry, and biology. This review summarizes major breakthroughs and emphasizes the common origin of van der Waals and Casimir interactions. Progress related to novel ab initio modeling approaches and their application in various systems, interactions in materials with Dirac-like spectra, force manipulations through nontrivial boundary conditions, and applications of van der Waals forces in organic and biological matter are examined. The outlook of the review is to give the scientific community a materials perspective of van der Waals and Casimir phenomena and stimulate the development of experimental techniques and applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number045003
JournalReviews of Modern Physics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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