Fluctuation-Induced Forces Between Atoms and Surfaces: The Casimir–Polder Interaction

  • Francesco IntravaiaEmail author
  • Carsten Henkel
  • Mauro Antezza
Part of the Lecture Notes in Physics book series (LNP, volume 834)


Electromagnetic fluctuation-induced forces between atoms and surfaces are generally known as Casimir–Polder interactions. The exact knowledge of these forces is rapidly becoming important in modern experimental set-ups and for technological applications. Recent theoretical and experimental investigations have shown that such an interaction is tunable in strength and sign, opening new perspectives to investigate aspects of quantum field theory and condensed-matter physics. In this chapter we review the theory of fluctuation-induced interactions between atoms and a surface, paying particular attention to the physical characterization of the system. We also survey some recent developments concerning the role of temperature, situations out of thermal equilibrium, and measurements involving ultra-cold atoms.


Dielectric Function Surface Interaction Atomic Beam Polarizability Tensor Green Tensor 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors would like to thank H. Haakh for fruitful discussions and comments, and R. Behunin for a critical reading. F.I. and C.H. acknowledge support from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, the Humboldt foundation, and the European Science Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg  2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francesco Intravaia
    • 1
    Email author
  • Carsten Henkel
    • 2
  • Mauro Antezza
    • 3
  1. 1.Theoretical Division, MS B213Los Alamos National LaboratoryLos AlamosUSA
  2. 2.Institut für Physik und AstronomieUniversität PotsdamPotsdamGermany
  3. 3.Laboratoire Kastler BrosselEcole Normale Supérieure, CNRS and UPMCParisFrance

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