Casimir Physics

Volume 834 of the series Lecture Notes in Physics pp 23-37


On the Problem of van der Waals Forces in Dielectric Media

  • Lev P. PitaevskiiAffiliated withINO-CNR BEC Center and Dipartimento di Fisica, Universitá di TrentoKapitza Institute for Physical Problems, Russian Academy of Sciences Email author 

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A short review of the problems which arise in the generalization of the Lifshitz theory of van der Waals force in the case of forces inside dielectric media is presented, together with some historical remarks. General properties of the stress tensor of equilibrium electromagnetic field in media are discussed, and the importance of the conditions of mechanical equilibrium is stressed. The physical meaning of the repulsive van der Waals interaction between bodies immersed in a liquid is discussed.