S. Y. Buhmann, S. Scheel, S. Å. Ellingsen, K. Hornberger, A. Jacob

Casimir-Polder interaction of fullerene molecules with surfaces

Phys. Rev. A

Abstract:

We calculate the thermal Casimir-Polder potential of C_{60} and C_{70} fullerene molecules near gold and silicon nitride surfaces, motivated by their relevance for molecular matter wave interference experiments. We obtain the coefficients governing the asymptotic power laws of the interaction in the thermal, retarded and nonretarded distance regimes and evaluate the full potential numerically. The interaction is found to be dominated by electronic transitions, and hence independent of the internal temperature of the molecules. The contributions from phonon transitions, which are affected by the molecular temperature, give rise to only a small correction. Moreover, we find that the sizeable molecular line widths of thermal fullerenes may modify the nonretarded interaction, depending on the model used. Detailed measurements of the nonretarded potential of fullerene thus allow one to distinguish between different theories of incorporating damping.

(9 pages, 8 figures, 9 tables)
[pdf,
journal,
arXiv:1202.1982
]

doi:10.1103/PhysRevA.85.042513 (c) The American Physical Society