Exploring the van der Waals atom-surface attraction in the nanometric rangeM. Fichet1, G. Dutier1, A. Yarovitsky1, P. Todorov1, I. Hamdi1, I. Maurin1, S. Saltiel1, D. Sarkisyan2, M.-P. Gorza1, D. Bloch1 and M. Ducloy1
1 Laboratoire de Physique des Lasers, UMR7538 du CNRS et de l'Université, Paris13 - 99, Av. J.B. Clément, F-93430 Villetaneuse, France
2 Institute for Physical Research, National Academy of Sciences - Ashtarak 2, Armenia
received 6 November 2006; accepted in final form 17 January 2007; published March 2007
published online 23 February 2007
The van der Waals atom-surface attraction, scaling as C3z-3 for z the atom-surface distance, is expected to be valid in the distance range 11000 nm, covering 810 orders of magnitudes in the interaction energy. A Cs vapour nanocell allows us to analyze the spectroscopic modifications induced by the atom-surface attraction on the transition. The measured C3 value is found to be independent of the thickness in the explored range 40130 nm, and is in agreement with an elementary theoretical prediction. We also discuss the specific interest of exploring short distances and large interaction energy.
42.50.Xa - Optical tests of quantum theory.
34.50.Dy - Interactions of atoms and molecules with surfaces; photon and electron emission; neutralization of ions.
32.70.Jz - Line shapes, widths, and shifts.
© Europhysics Letters Association 2007