Abstract

The van der Waals (vW) long-range atom-surface interaction is often described as a dipole-dipole interaction, originating in the coupling between the quantum dipole fluctuations of an atom and the instantaneously induced fluctuations in the electrostatic image. Due to the finite light velocity, this atom-surface interaction is better understood in the more general frame of the Casimir-Polder theory. Recently, it was demonstrated that the Casimir-Polder interaction undergoes an observable dependence on the vacuum temperature [1]. In a shorter distance range, it is expected that thermally excited surface modes could resonantly modify the vW interaction, when it coincides with a virtual atomic absorption [2,3].

© 2009 IEEE

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