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Near and far field interaction between moving atoms mediated by the electromagnetic vacuum

Contact: BERCEGOL Hervé, , herve.bercegol@cea.fr, +33 1 69 08 74 37
Summary:
To further investigate quantum friction, we will calculate the effect of wave propagation on the braking torque and on van der Waals potential energy, an effect neglected in previous calculations. The subject will be treated with algebraic computation and numerical integration.
Possibility of continuation in PhD: Oui
Deadline for application:01/04/2022

Full description:
Quantum friction - i.e. Friction of moving matter on the quantum vacuum - has been shown theoretically to produce a braking torque on rotating nanomaterials [1]. At SPEC, we extended this property to interacting atoms in rotation one around the other, using atomic oscillators and a semi-classical model of vacuum [2]. Recent work [3.a] showed that the extension of this property to more realistic configurations necessitates a more complete calculation of the interaction between atoms and the electromagnetic field.

The importance of electromagnetic wave propagation is well known in the long-range Casimir-Polder case, but it also affects the near field situation, where its inclusion in calculations is necessary to interpret physically the friction phenomenon and induced energy exchanges. Moreover, a fully quantum model must be developed for the rotating pair of atoms, in order to explore rigorously some properties of mixed pairs of different atoms [3.b], and other more realistic configurations.

The master’s student will take up the first step, the effect of wave propagation. This effect will be studied within the already developed semi-classical model, by using both formal calculations and numerical programs. We will be interested in both potential energy and friction force determinations. The PhD student will complete those calculations and work towards of fully quantum model. The PhD research will be directed jointly with a specialist of quantum electrodynamic calculations.

References:
[1] Manjavacas, A., García de Abajo, F. J., "Vacuum Friction in Rotating Particles", Phys. Rev. Lett. 105, 113601 (2010).
[2] Bercegol, H., Lehoucq, R., "Vacuum friction on a rotating pair of atoms", Phys. Rev. Lett. 115, 090402 (2015).
[3] a. Klein, B. "Approche quantique de la friction du vide dans les collisions atomiques et subatomiques", CentraleSupélec, 2021.
b. De Izarra, A. "Effet du champ électromagnétique du vide sur les collisions atomique", Univ. Tours, 2016.
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