## Institut für Physik und Astronomie

We describe a simple mechanism of quantum friction for a particle moving parallel to a dielectric, based on a fully relativistic framework and the assumption of local equilibrium. The Cherenkov effect explains how the bare ground state becomes globally unstable and how fluctuations of the electromagnetic field and the particle's dipole are converted into pairs of excitations. Modeling the particle as a silver nano-sphere, we investigate the spectrum of the force and its velocity dependence. We find that the damping of the plasmon resonance in the silver particle has a relatively strong impact near the Cherenkov threshold velocity. We also present an expansion of the friction force near the threshold velocity for both damped and undamped particles.

The aim of this paper is to revisit the calculation of atom-surface quantum friction in the quantum field theory formulation put forward by Barton (2010 New J. Phys. 12 113045). We show that the power dissipated into field excitations and the associated friction force depend on how the atom is boosted from being initially at rest to a configuration in which it is moving at constant velocity (nu) parallel to the planar interface. In addition, we point out that there is a subtle cancellation between the one-photon and part of the two-photon dissipating power, resulting in a leading order contribution to the frictional power which goes as nu(4). These results are also confirmed by an alternative calculation of the average radiation force, which scales as nu(3).

We solve the Bogoliubov equations for an inhomogeneous condensate in the vicinity of a linear turning point. A stable integration scheme is developed using a transformation into an adiabatic basis. We identify boundary modes trapped in a potential whose shape is similar to a Hartree-Fock mean-field treatment. These modes are non-resonantly excited when bulk modes reflect at the turning point and contribute significantly to the spectrum of local density fluctuations.

The electromagnetic field in a typical geometry of the Casimir effect is described in the Schwinger-Keldysh formalism. The main result is the photon distribution function (Keldysh Green function) in any stationary state of the field. A two-plate geometry with a sliding interface in local equilibrium is studied in detail, and full agreement with the results of Rytov fluctuation electrodynamics is found.

We investigate the time-dependent Casimir-Polder potential of a polarizable two-level atom placed near a surface of arbitrary material, after a sudden change in the parameters of the system. Different initial conditions are taken into account. For an initially bare ground-state atom, the time-dependent Casimir-Polder energy reveals how the atom is "being dressed" by virtual, matter-assisted photons. We also study the transient behavior of the Casimir-Polder interaction between the atom and the surface starting from a partially dressed state, after an externally induced change in the atomic level structure or transition dipoles. The Heisenberg equations are solved through an iterative technique for both atomic and field operators in the medium-assisted electromagnetic field quantization scheme. We analyze, in particular, how the time evolution of the interaction energy depends on the optical properties of the surface, in particular on the dispersion relation of surface plasmon polaritons. The physical significance and the limits of validity of the obtained results are discussed in detail.

Mapping a plasmonic hologram with photosensitive polymer films: standing versus propagating waves
(2014)

We use a photosensitive layer containing azobenzene moieties to map near-field intensity patterns in the vicinity of nanogrids fabricated within a thin silver layer. It is known that azobenzene containing films deform permanently during irradiation, following the pattern of the field intensity. The photosensitive material reacts only to stationary waves whose intensity patterns do not change in time. In this study, we have found a periodic deformation above the silver film outside the nanostructure, even if the latter consists of just one groove. This is in contradiction to the widely accepted viewpoint that propagating surface plasmon modes dominate outside nanogrids. We explain our observation based on an electromagnetic hologram formed by the constructive interference between a propagating surface plasmon wave and the incident light. This hologram contains a stationary intensity and polarization grating that even appears in the absence of the polymer layer.

We show how the spontaneous emission rate of an excited two-level atom placed in a trapped Bose-Einstein condensate of ground-state atoms is enhanced by bosonic stimulation. This stimulation depends on the overlap of the excited matter-wave packet with the macroscopically occupied condensate wave function, and provides a probe of the spatial coherence of the Bose gas. The effect can be used to amplify the distance-dependent decay rate of an excited atom near an interface.

We analyze the equilibrium properties of a weakly interacting, trapped quasi-one-dimensional Bose gas at finite temperatures and compare different theoretical approaches. We focus in particular on two stochastic theories: a number-conserving Bogoliubov (NCB) approach and a stochastic Gross-Pitaevskii equation (SGPE) that have been extensively used in numerical simulations. Equilibrium properties like density profiles, correlation functions, and the condensate statistics are compared to predictions based upon a number of alternative theories. We find that due to thermal phase fluctuations, and the corresponding condensate depletion, the NCB approach loses its validity at relatively low temperatures. This can be attributed to the change in the Bogoliubov spectrum, as the condensate gets thermally depleted, and to large fluctuations beyond perturbation theory. Although the two stochastic theories are built on different thermodynamic ensembles (NCB, canonical; SGPE, grand-canonical), they yield the correct condensate statistics in a large Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC) (strong enough particle interactions). For smaller systems, the SGPE results are prone to anomalously large number fluctuations, well known for the grand-canonical, ideal Bose gas. Based on the comparison of the above theories to the modified Popov approach, we propose a simple procedure for approximately extracting the Penrose-Onsager condensate from first-and second-order correlation functions that is both computationally convenient and of potential use to experimentalists. This also clarifies the link between condensate and quasicondensate in the Popov theory of low-dimensional systems.

Atom chips are a promising candidate for a scalable architecture for quantum information processing provided a universal set of gates can be implemented with high fidelity. The difficult part in achieving universality is the entangling two-qubit gate. We consider a Rydberg phase gate for two atoms trapped on a chip and employ optimal control theory to find the shortest gate that still yields a reasonable gate error. Our parameters correspond to a situation where the Rydberg blockade regime is not yet reached. We discuss the role of spontaneous emission and the effect of noise from the chip surface on the atoms in the Rydberg state.