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Author Donaire, M.
Source arXiv.org
Content type Text
File Format PDF
Date of Submission 2009-12-16
Language English
Subject Domain (in DDC) Computer science, information & general works ♦ Natural sciences & mathematics ♦ Physics
Subject Keyword Quantum Physics ♦ High Energy Physics - Theory ♦ Physics - Optics ♦ physics:hep-th ♦ physics:physics ♦ physics:quant-ph
Abstract We study from a critical perspective several quantum-electrodynamic phenomena commonly related to vacuum electromagnetic (EM) fluctuations in complex media. We compute the resonance-shift, the spontaneous emission rate, the local density of states and the van-der-Waals-Casimir pressure in a dielectric medium using a microscopic diagrammatic approach. We find, in agreement with some recent works, that these effects cannot be attributed to variations on the energy of the EM vacuum but to variations of the dielectric self-energy. This energy is the result of the interaction of the bare polarizability of the dielectric constituents with the EM fluctuations of an actually polarized vacuum. We have found an exact expression for the spectrum of these fluctuations in a statistically homogeneous dielectric. Those fluctuations turn out to be different to the ones of normal radiative modes. It is the latter that carry the zero-point-energy (ZPE). Concerning spontaneous emission, we clarify the nature of the radiation and the origin of the so-called local field factors. Essential discrepancies are found with respect to previous works. We perform a detailed analysis of the phenomenon of radiative and non-radiative energy transfer. Analytical formulae are given for the decay rate of an interstitial impurity in a Maxwell-Garnett dielectric and for the decay rate of a substantial impurity sited in a large cavity. The construction of the effective dielectric constant is found to be a self-consistency problem. The van-der-Waals pressure in a complex medium is computed in terms of variations of the dielectric self-energy at zero-temperature. An additional radiative pressure appears associated to variations of the EM vacuum energy.
Educational Use Research
Learning Resource Type Article


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