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

Bennett, R. , Buhmann, S. Y. and Eberlein, C. (2018) Distinguishing models of surface response through the self-energy of an electron. Physical Review A: Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics, 98(2), 022515. (doi: 10.1103/PhysRevA.98.022515)

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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:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Bennett, Dr Robert
Authors: Bennett, R., Buhmann, S. Y., and Eberlein, C.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Physics and Astronomy
Journal Name:Physical Review A: Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics
Publisher:American Physical Society
ISSN (Online):1094-1622
Published Online:21 August 2018

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