Title: Coupled-oscillator theory of dispersion and Casimir-Polder interactions

We address the question of the applicability of the argument theorem (of complex variable theory) to the calculation of two distinct energies: (i) the first-order dispersion interaction energy of two separated oscillators, when one of the oscillators is excited initially and (ii) the Casimir-Polder interaction of a ground-state quantum oscillator near a perfectly conducting plane. We show that the argument theorem can be used to obtain the generally accepted equation for the first-order dispersion interaction energy, which is oscillatory and varies as the inverse power of the separation r of the oscillators for separations much greater than an optical wavelength. However, for such separations, the interaction energy cannot be transformed into an integral over the positive imaginary axis. If the argument theorem is used incorrectly to relate the interaction energy to an integral over the positive imaginary axis, the interaction energy is non-oscillatory and varies as r{sup −4}, a result found by several authors. Rather remarkably, this incorrect expression for the dispersion energy actually corresponds to the nonperturbative Casimir-Polder energy for a ground-state quantum oscillator near a perfectly conducting wall, as we show using the so-called “remarkable formula” for the free energy of an oscillator coupled to a heat bathmore » [G. W. Ford, J. T. Lewis, and R. F. O’Connell, Phys. Rev. Lett. 55, 2273 (1985)]. A derivation of that formula from basic results of statistical mechanics and the independent oscillator model of a heat bath is presented.« less

Physics Department, University of Michigan, 450 Church Street, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1040 (United States)

Theoretical Division, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico 87545 (United States)

(United States)

Publication Date:

OSTI Identifier:

22310725

Resource Type:

Journal Article

Resource Relation:

Journal Name: Journal of Chemical Physics; Journal Volume: 141; Journal Issue: 16; Other Information: (c) 2014 AIP Publishing LLC; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

Country of Publication:

United States

Language:

English

Subject:

71 CLASSICAL AND QUANTUM MECHANICS, GENERAL PHYSICS; DISPERSIONS; FREE ENERGY; GROUND STATES; OSCILLATORS; STATISTICAL MECHANICS