# Atomic recoil and momentum diffusion close to a vacuum-dielectric interface

C. Henkel and J. Y. Courtois
*Eur. Phys. J. D* **3** (1998) 129-153.
**Abstract**

We derive the quantum-mechanical master equation (generalized optical Bloch equation) for an atom in the vicinity of a flat dielectric surface. This equation gives access to the semiclassical radiation pressure force and the atomic momentum diffusion tensor, that are expressed in terms of the vacuum field correlation function (electromagnetic field susceptibility). It is demonstrated that the atomic center-of-mass motion provides a nonlocal probe of the electromagnetic vacuum fluctuations. We show in particular that in a circularly polarized evanescent wave, the radiation pressure force experienced by the atoms is not colinear with the evanescent wave's propagation vector. In a linearly polarized evanescent wave, the recoil per fluorescence cycle leads to a net magnetization for a Jg = 1/2 ground state atom.

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