FisMat2017 - Submission - View

Abstract's title: Physical Adsorption at the Nanoscale: Towards Controllable Scaling of the Substrate-Adsorbate van der Waals Interaction
Submitting author: Alberto Ambrosetti
Affiliation: Università degli Studi di Padova
Affiliation Address: Via Marzolo 8, 35131 Padova
Country: Italy
Oral presentation/Poster (Author's request): Oral presentation
Other authors and affiliations: Pier Luigi Silvestrelli

The Lifshitz-Zaremba-Kohn (LZK) theory is commonly considered as the correct large-distance limit for the van der Waals (vdW) interaction of adsorbates (atoms, molecules, or nanoparticles) with solid substrates. In the standard approximate form, implicitly based on {\it local} dielectric functions, the LZK approach predicts universal power laws for vdW interactions depending only on the dimensionality of the interacting objects. However, recent experimental findings are challenging the universality of this theoretical approach  at finite distances of relevance for nanoscale assembly. Here, we present a combined analytical and numerical many-body study demonstrating that physical adsorption can be significantly enhanced at the nanoscale. Regardless of the band gap or the nature of the adsorbate specie, we find deviations from conventional LZK power laws that extend to separation distances of up to 10--20 nanometers. Comparison with recent experimental observation of ultra long-ranged vdW interactions in the delamination of graphene from a silicon substrate reveals qualitative agreement with the present theory. The sensitivity of vdW interactions to the substrate response and to the adsorbate characteristic excitation frequency also suggests that adsorption strength can be effectively tuned in experiments, paving the way to an improved control of physical adsorption at the nanoscale.