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Non-equilibrium Casimir interactions : from dynamical to thermal effects

Abstract : In this thesis, after an introduction where we briefly present the general context of Casimir physics, we present the results obtained during the PhD. At first, we show our work about the van der Waals/Casimir-Polder interactions between two atoms in an out-of-equilibrium condition due to their uniformly accelerated motion. We study the system of two uniformly accelerated atoms in vacuum space, when they are in their ground-state and when they are in a correlated state (one excited and one ground-state atom). We analyze this system both with an heuristic semiclassical model and with a more rigorous method, based on a separation of radiation reaction and vacuum fluctuations contributions, that we extend starting from a general procedure known in literature. We find a change of the distance-dependence of the interaction due to the acceleration. We show that Casimir-Polder forces between two relativistic uniformly accelerated atoms, interacting with the scalar field, exhibit a transition from the short-distance thermal-like behavior predicted by the Unruh effect to a long-distance nonthermal behavior, associated with the breakdown of a local inertial description of the system. In addition, we obtain new features of the resonance interaction in the case of atoms interacting with the quantum electromagnetic field.Next, we present our work about a new optomechanical coupling of an effectively oscillating mirror with a Rydberg atoms gas, mediated by the dynamical atom-mirror Casimir-Polder force. We find that this coupling may produce a near-field resonant atomic excitation not related to the excitation of atoms by the few real photons expected by dynamical Casimir effect. In accessible experimental conditions, this excitation probability is significant (about 20%) making the observation of this new dynamical Casimir-Polder effect possible. For this reason, we propose a realistic experimental configuration to realize this system made of a cold atom gas trapped in front of a semiconductor substrate, whose dielectric properties are periodically modulated in time.Finally, we focus on our results obtained for the Casimir-Lifshitz pressure between two different dielectric lamellar gratings. This system is assumed to be in an out-of-thermal-equilibrium configuration, i.e. the two gratings have two different temperatures and they are immersed in a thermal bath having a third temperature. The computation of the pressure is based on a method exploiting the scattering operators of the bodies, deduced using the Fourier modal method. In our numerical results we characterize in detail the behavior of the pressure, both by varying the three temperatures and by changing the geometrical parameters of the gratings. In this way we show that it is possible to tune the force from attractive to repulsive or to strongly reduce the pressure for large ranges of temperatures. Moreover, we stress that the interplay between nonequilibrium effects and geometrical periodicity make this system particularly interesting for the observation of the repulsive Casimir force.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, June 6, 2018 - 11:47:06 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, September 8, 2020 - 5:07:20 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Friday, September 7, 2018 - 1:03:35 PM


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  • HAL Id : tel-01808979, version 1



Antonio Noto. Non-equilibrium Casimir interactions : from dynamical to thermal effects. Physics [physics]. Université Montpellier; Università degli studi (Palerme, Italie), 2016. English. ⟨NNT : 2016MONTT279⟩. ⟨tel-01808979⟩



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