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Phys Rev Lett. 2002 Jul 15;89(3):033001. Epub 2002 Jun 25.

Repulsive Casimir forces.

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Department of Physics, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa 32000 Israel.


We discuss repulsive Casimir forces between dielectric materials with nontrivial magnetic susceptibility. It is shown that considerations based on the naive pairwise summation of van der Waals and Casimir-Polder forces may not only give an incorrect estimate of the magnitude of the total Casimir force but even the wrong sign of the force when materials with high dielectric and magnetic responses are involved. Indeed repulsive Casimir forces may be found in a large range of parameters, and we suggest that the effect may be realized in known materials. The phenomenon of repulsive Casimir forces may be of importance both for experimental study and for nanomachinery applications.

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