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Trapping atoms using nanoscale quantum vacuum forces



Jacob M. Taylor, Darrick E. Chang, Kanupriya Sinha, H J. Kimble


Quantum vacuum forces dictate the interaction between individual atoms and dielectric surfaces at nanoscale distances. For example, their large strengths typically overwhelm externally applied forces, which makes it challenging to controllably interface cold atoms with nearby nanophotonic systems. Here, we show that it is possible to tailor the vacuum forces themselves to provide strong trapping potentials. The trapping scheme takes advantage of the attractive ground state potential and adiabatic dressing with an excited state whose potential is engineered to be resonantly enhanced and repulsive. This procedure yields a strong metastable trap, with the fraction of excited state population scaling inversely with the quality factor of the resonance of the dielectric structure. We analyze realistic limitations to the trap lifetime and discuss possible applications that might emerge from the large trap depths and nanoscale confinement.
Nature Communications


Casimir force, atom trapping, laser cooling


Taylor, J. , Chang, D. , Sinha, K. and Kimble, H. (2014), Trapping atoms using nanoscale quantum vacuum forces, Nature Communications, [online], (Accessed July 14, 2024)


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Created July 10, 2014, Updated November 10, 2018