Nanolevitation Phenomena in Real Plane-Parallel Systems Due to the Balance between Casimir and Gravity Forces

We report on the theoretical analysis of equilibrium distances in real plane-parallel systems under the influence of Casimir and gravity forces at thermal equilibrium. Due to the balance between these forces, thin films of Teflon, silica, or polystyrene in a single-layer configuration and immersed in glycerol stand over a silicon substrate at certain stable or unstable positions depending on the material and the slab thickness. Hybrid systems containing silica and polystyrene, materials which display Casimir forces and equilibrium distances of opposite nature when considered individually, are analyzed in either bilayer arrangements or as composite systems made of a homogeneous matrix with small inclusions inside. For each configuration, equilibrium distances and their stability can be adjusted by fine-tuning of the volume occupied by each material. We find the specific conditions under which nanolevitation of realistic films should be observed. Our results indicate that thin films of real materials in plane-parallel configurations can be used to control suspension or stiction phenomena at the nanoscale.