The influence of a surface in the non-retarded interaction between two atoms

Souza, Reinaldo de Melo e; Kort-Kamp, W. J. M.; Rosa, F. S. S.; Farina, C.
eprint arXiv:1503.04862


In this work we obtain analytical expressions for the non-additivity effects in the dispersive interaction between two atoms and perfectly conducting surface of arbitrary shape in the non-retarded regime. We show that this three bodies quantum-mechanical problem can be solved by mapping it into a two-bodies electrostatic one. We apply the general formulas developed in this paper in several examples. Firstly we re-derive the London interaction as a particular case of our formalism. Then we treat two atoms in the presence of a plane, re-obtained the result displayed in the literature. After we add some new examples. A particularly interesting one is two atoms inside a plate capacitor, a situation where non-additivity is very manifest since the plates lead to the exponentially suppression of the interaction of the atoms, provided the atoms are separated by a distance of the order of the distance between the plates or greater. Our results holds even in the presence of other atoms inside the plate capacitor. As a last example we deal with two atoms in the presence of a sphere, both grounded and isolated. We show that for realistic experimental parameters the non-additivity may be relevant for the force in each atom.