As technological advancements are made on the micro- and nanoscale, things tend to get tricky. Nanoscopic devices are built using metals, like gold, due to their favorable properties like high stability, biocompatibility, ease of processing. However, since they are operating on such a tiny scale, the parts end up stuck together because of Casimir-Lifshitz forces.
These forces, due to electrodynamical quantum and thermal fluctuations, end up pushing the parts of micro-devices together, causing friction and stiction. Friction and stiction stop the devices from working as intended.
Recent results presented in Nature Physics can help clear this hurdle and move the field forward.
The research project is a collaboration between Gothenburg University, Chalmers University of Technology, University of Düsseldorf, Friedrich Schiller Universität and SISSA.
An illustration of microscopic gold flakes on surface. Image by Falko Schmidt