Abstract

We show that atoms interacting with evanescent light fields, generated at the interface of a dielectric with vacuum, experience artificial gauge potentials. Both the magnitude and the spatial distribution of these potentials depend crucially on the physical parameters that characterize the evanescent fields most notably the refractive index of the dielectric material and the angle of incidence of the laser beam totally internally reflected at the interface. Gauge fields are derived for various evanescent light fields and for both two-level and three-level systems. The use of such artificial gauge potentials for the manipulation of atoms trapped at the interfaces is pointed out and discussed.

© 2014 Optical Society of America

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