Fluctuation-induced forces on nanospheres in external fields


We analyze the radiative forces between two dielectric nanospheres mediated via the quantum and thermal fluctuations of the electromagnetic field in the presence of an external drive. We generalize the scattering theory description of fluctuation forces to include external quantum fields, allowing them to be in an arbitrary quantum state. The known trapping and optical binding potentials are recovered for an external coherent state. We demonstrate that an external squeezed vacuum state creates similar potentials to a laser, despite its zero average intensity. Moreover, Schrödinger cat states of the field can enhance or suppress the optical potential depending on whether they are odd or even. Considering the nanospheres trapped by optical tweezers, we examine the total interparticle potential as a function of various experimentally relevant parameters, such as the field intensity, polarization, and phase of the trapping lasers. We demonstrate that an appropriate set of parameters could produce mutual bound states of the two nanospheres with potential depth as large as ~200 K. Our results are pertinent to ongoing experiments with trapped nanospheres in the macroscopic quantum regime, paving the way for engineering interactions among macroscopic quantum systems.

Physical Review A 109, 052807