On the Problem of van der Waals Forces in Dielectric Media

  • Lev P. PitaevskiiEmail author
Part of the Lecture Notes in Physics book series (LNP, volume 834)


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.


Stress Tensor Mechanical Equilibrium Dielectric Permeability Free Energy Variation Lifshitz Theory 
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I thank R.Scott for critical reading of this paper and useful suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg  2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.INO-CNR BEC Center and Dipartimento di FisicaUniversitá di TrentoTrentoItaly
  2. 2.Kapitza Institute for Physical ProblemsRussian Academy of SciencesMoscowRussia

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