Van der Waals force
s can stick to walls and ceilings because of van der Waals forces.]] In physical chemistry, the van der Waals forces, named after Dutch scientist Johannes Diderik van der Waals, are distance-dependent interactions between atoms or molecules. Unlike ionic or covalent bonds, these attractions are not a result of any chemical electronic bond, and they are comparatively weak and more susceptible to being perturbed. Van der Waals forces quickly vanish at longer distances between interacting molecules. Van der Waals forces play a fundamental role in fields as diverse as supramolecular chemistry, structural biology, polymer science, nanotechnology, surface science, and condensed matter physics. van der Waals forces also define many properties of organic compounds and molecular solids, including their solubility in polar and non-polar media. If no other forces are present, the point at which the force becomes repulsive rather than attractive as two atoms near one another is called the van der Waals contact distance. This results from the electron clouds of two atoms unfavorably coming into contact. It can be shown that van der Waals forces are of the same origin as the Casimir effect, arising from quantum interactions with the zero-point field.G. L. Klimchitskaya, V. M. Mostepanenko. 2015. Casimir and van der Waals forces: Advances and problems. https://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1507/1507.02393.pdf The resulting van der Waals forces can be attractive or repulsive. It is also sometimes used loosely as a synonym for the totality of intermolecular forces. The term includes the force between permanent dipoles ( Keesom force), the force between a permanent dipole and a corresponding induced dipole ( Debye force), and the force between instantaneously induced dipoles ( London dispersion force).