Modern Experiments on Atom-Surface Casimir Physics

  • Maarten DeKievietEmail author
  • Ulrich D. Jentschura
  • Grzegorz Łach
Part of the Lecture Notes in Physics book series (LNP, volume 834)


In this chapter we review past and current experimental approaches to measuring the long-range interaction between atoms and surfaces, the so-called Casimir-Polder force. These experiments demonstrate the importance of going beyond the perfect conductor approximation and stipulate the relevance of the Dzyaloshinskii-Lifshitz-Pitaevskii theory. We discuss recent generalizations of that theory, that include higher multipole polarizabilities, and present a list of additional effects, that may become important in future Casimir-Polder experiments. Among the latter, we see great potential for spectroscopic techniques, atom interferometry, and the manipulation of ultra-cold quantum matter (e.g. BEC) near surfaces. We address approaches based on quantum reflection and discuss the atomic beam spin-echo experiment as a particular example. Finally, some of the advantages of Casimir-Polder techniques in comparison to Casimir force measurements between macroscopic bodies are presented.


Sodium Atom Perfect Conductor Atom Interferometer Ground State Atom Neon Atom 
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.



G.L. would like to acknowledge his support from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, contract Je285/5–1). U.J. acknowledges support from the National Science Foundation (Grant PHY–8555454) and from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (precision measurement grant).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg  2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maarten DeKieviet
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ulrich D. Jentschura
    • 2
  • Grzegorz Łach
    • 1
  1. 1.Physikalisches Institut der Universität HeidelbergHeidelbergGermany
  2. 2.Department of PhysicsMissouri University of Science and TechnologyRollaUSA

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