Distinguishing models of surface response through the self-energy of an electron

Bennett, Robert, Buhmann, Stefan Yoshi and Eberlein, Claudia (2018) Distinguishing models of surface response through the self-energy of an electron. Physical Review A, 98 (2). 022515. ISSN 2469-9926

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Abstract

The self-energy of an electron confined between parallel surfaces with arbitrary dielectric properties is calculated. The mechanism for this effect is the surface-induced modification of the fluctuating quantized vacuum field to which the electron is coupled, thereby endowing it with a surface-dependent self-energy in broad analogy to the Casimir-Polder effect for an atom. We derive a general formula for this self-energy shift and find that its sign is different for two commonly used models of surface response, namely, the plasma model and the Drude model. We propose an experiment which could detect this difference in sign, shedding light on continuing uncertainty about the correct description of the interaction of low-frequency vacuum photons with media.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences > Physics and Astronomy
Research Centres and Groups: Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics Research Group
Sussex Centre for Quantum Technologies
Subjects: Q Science > QC Physics > QC0170 Atomic physics. Constitution and properties of matter Including molecular physics, relativity, quantum theory, and solid state physics
Depositing User: Claudia Eberlein
Date Deposited: 23 Aug 2018 15:06
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2019 14:47
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/78233

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