Monday, September 17, 2012

1209.3288 (Claudia Eberlein et al.)

Quantum electrodynamics near anisotropic polarizable materials:
Casimir-Polder shifts near multi-layers of graphene

Claudia Eberlein, Robert Zietal
In a recent paper we have formulated a theory of non-relativistic quantum electrodynamics in the presence of an inhomogeneous Huttner-Barnett dielectric. Here we generalize the formalism to anisotropic materials and show how it may be modified to include conducting surfaces. We start with the derivation of the photon propagator for a slab of material and use it to work out the energy-level shift near a medium whose conductivity in the direction parallel to the surface far exceeds that in the direction perpendicular to the surface. We investigate the influence of the anisotropy of the material's electromagnetic response on the Casimir-Polder shifts, both analytically and numerically, and show that it may have a significant impact on the atom-surface interaction, especially in the non-retarded regime, i.e. for small atom-surface separations. Our results for the energy shift may be used to estimate the Casimir-Polder force acting on quantum objects close to multilayers of graphene or graphite. They are particularly important for the case of trapped cold molecules whose dispersive interactions with surfaces often fall within the non-retarded regime where the anisotropy of the material strongly influences the Casimir-Polder force. We also give a formula for the change in the spontaneous decay rate of an excited atom or molecule near an anisotropically conducting surface.
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