Issue
EPL
Volume 87, Number 1, July 2009
Article Number 14004
Number of page(s) 5
Section Electromagnetism, Optics, Acoustics, Heat Transfer, Classical Mechanics, and Fluid Dynamics
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1209/0295-5075/87/14004
Published online 24 July 2009
EPL, 87 (2009) 14004
DOI: 10.1209/0295-5075/87/14004

Saturation effects in experiments on the thermal Casimir effect

B. E. Sernelius

Division of Theory and Modeling, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Linköping University SE-581 83 Linköping, Sweden, EU

bos@ifm.liu.se

received 25 May 2009; accepted in final form 29 June 2009; published July 2009
published online 24 July 2009

Abstract
We address three different problematic Casimir experiments in this work. The first is the classical Casimir force measured between two metal half-spaces; here in the form of the Casimir pressure measurement between a gold sphere and a gold plate as performed by Decca et al. (Phys. Rev. D, 75 (2007) 077101); theory predicts a large negative thermal correction, absent in the high-precision experiment. The second experiment is the measurement of the Casimir force between a metal plate and a laser irradiated semiconductor membrane as performed by Chen et al. (Phys. Rev. B, 76 (2007) 035338); the change in force with laser intensity is larger than predicted by theory. The third experiment is the measurement of the Casimir force between an atom and a wall in the form of the measurement by Obrecht et al. (Phys. Rev. Lett., 98 (2007) 063201) of the change in oscillation frequency of a 87Rb Bose-Einstein condensate trapped to a fused silica wall; the change is smaller than predicted by theory. We show that saturation effects can explain the discrepancies between theory and experiment observed in all these cases.

PACS
42.50.Nn - Quantum optical phenomena in absorbing, amplifying, dispersive and conducting media; cooperative phenomena in quantum optical systems.
42.50.Ct - Quantum description of interaction of light and matter; related experiments.
34.35.+a - Interactions of atoms and molecules with surfaces.

© EPLA 2009