We investigate the interaction of metastable 2S hydrogen atoms with a perfectly conducting wall, including parity-breaking S-P mixing terms (with full account of retardation). The neighboring 2P1/2 and 2P3/2 levels are found to have a profound effect on the transition from the short-range, nonrelativistic regime, to the retarded form of the Casimir-Polder interaction. The corresponding P state admixtures to the metastable 2S state are calculated. We find the long-range asymptotics of the retarded Casimir-Polder potentials and mixing amplitudes for general excited states, including a fully quantum electrodynamic treatment of the dipole-quadrupole mixing term. The decay width of the metastable 2S state is roughly doubled even at a comparatively large distance of 918 a.u. (Bohr radii) from the perfect conductor. The magnitude of the calculated effects is compared to the unexplained Sokolov effect.



Keywords and Phrases

Atoms; Electrodynamics; Hydrogen; Mixing; Quantum Electronics; Atom-wall Interactions; Casimir-Polder Interaction; Dipole-quadrupole; Hydrogen Atoms; Non-relativistic Regimes; Parity Breaking; Perfectly Conducting Walls; Quantum Electrodynamics; Quantum Theory

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Article - Journal

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Final Version

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© 2015 American Physical Society (APS), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2015

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Physics Commons