Retarded and nonretarded van der Waals interactions between a cluster and a second cluster or a conducting surface

M. M. Calbi, S. M. Gatica, D. Velegol, M. W. Cole

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In some respects, a cluster consisting of many atoms may be regarded as a single large atom. Knowing the dielectric properties of such a cluster permits one to evaluate the form of the van der Waals (dispersion) interactions between two clusters or between one cluster and a surface. In this paper, we derive these interactions in two extreme opposite regimes of separation: fully retarded and nonretarded. In the fully retarded regime (very large separation), the magnitude of the interaction is determined by just the static polarizability of the cluster(s). In the nonretarded regime (small separation), we employ a single resonant frequency model of the cluster polarizability to derive expressions for the interactions’ coefficients. Numerical examples are presented to demonstrate that many-body screening of these interactions can be significant. The results represent the corrections to the commonly used approximation of pairwise additivity of interatomic interactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages1
JournalPhysical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics

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