We have performed a precise experimental determination of the Casimir pressure between two gold-coated parallel plates by means of a micromachined oscillator. In contrast to all previous experiments on the Casimir effect, where a small relative error (varying from 1% to 15%) was achieved only at the shortest separation, our smallest experimental error (∼ 0.5%) is achieved over a wide separation range from 170 nm to 300 nm at 95% confidence. We have formulated a rigorous metrological procedure for the comparison of experiment and theory without resorting to the previously used root-mean-square deviation, which has been criticized in the literature. This enables us to discriminate among different competing theories of the thermal Casimir force, and to resolve a thermodynamic puzzle arising from the application of Lifshitz theory to real metals. Our results lead to a more rigorous approach for obtaining constraints on hypothetical long-range interactions predicted by extra-dimensional physics and other extensions of the Standard Model. In particular, the constraints on non-Newtonian gravity are strengthened by up to a factor of 20 in a wide interaction range at 95% confidence.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
- Nuclear and High Energy Physics
- Astronomy and Astrophysics