Measurement of the temperature dependence of the Casimir-Polder force

Phys Rev Lett. 2007 Feb 9;98(6):063201. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.98.063201. Epub 2007 Feb 8.


We report on the first measurement of a temperature dependence of the Casimir-Polder force. This measurement was obtained by positioning a nearly pure 87Rb Bose-Einstein condensate a few microns from a dielectric substrate and exciting its dipole oscillation. Changes in the collective oscillation frequency of the magnetically trapped atoms result from spatial variations in the surface-atom force. In our experiment, the dielectric substrate is heated up to 605 K, while the surrounding environment is kept near room temperature (310 K). The effect of the Casimir-Polder force is measured to be nearly 3 times larger for a 605 K substrate than for a room-temperature substrate, showing a clear temperature dependence in agreement with theory.