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Three-body radiative heat transfer and Casimir-Lifshitz force out of thermal equilibrium for arbitrary bodies

Riccardo Messina 1, * Mauro Antezza 1, *
* Corresponding author
1 PEPS - Physique de l'Exciton, du Photon et du Spin
L2C - Laboratoire Charles Coulomb
Abstract : We study the Casimir-Lifshitz force and the radiative heat transfer in a system consisting of three bodies held at three independent temperatures and immersed in a thermal environment, the whole system being in a stationary configuration out of thermal equilibrium. The theory we develop is valid for arbitrary bodies, i.e., for any set of temperatures, dielectric, and geometrical properties, and describes each body by means of its scattering operators. For the three-body system we provide a closed-form unified expression of the radiative heat transfer and of the Casimir-Lifshitz force (both in and out of thermal equilibrium). This expression is thus first applied to the case of three planar parallel slabs. In this context we discuss the nonadditivity of the force at thermal equilibrium, as well as the equilibrium temperature of the intermediate slab as a function of its position between two external slabs having different temperatures. Finally, we consider the force acting on an atom inside a planar cavity. We show that, differently from the equilibrium configuration, the absence of thermal equilibrium admits one or more positions of minima for the atomic potential. While the corresponding atomic potential depths are very small for typical ground-state atoms, they may become particularly relevant for Rydberg atoms, becoming a promising tool to produce an atomic trap.
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Riccardo Messina, Mauro Antezza. Three-body radiative heat transfer and Casimir-Lifshitz force out of thermal equilibrium for arbitrary bodies. Physical Review A, American Physical Society, 2014, 89, pp.052104. ⟨10.1103/PhysRevA.89.052104⟩. ⟨hal-00996282⟩

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