The Casimir-Polder (C-P) interaction between an atom and a surface, described as early as 1948, but observed much later on, is now a topic of broad interest, as connected to fundamental problems of quantum fluctuations, with the atomic energy levels renormalized by the wall-dependent vacuum fluctuations. Dependence of the C-P interaction with the equilibrium temperature is predicted, but had not been observed until now. However, more pronounced effects were predicted in an out-of-equilibrium situation, and were remarkably observed on a Rb BEC, at 6-10 µm from the wall, with the vacuum temperature (~ 300K) strongly differing from the surface temperature (~ 1000 K) [1].

© 2011 IEEE

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