Quantum dissipative Brownian motion and the Casimir effect

G.-L. Ingold, A. Lambrecht und S. Reynaud

Phys. Rev. E 80, 041113 (2009) DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.80.041113

We explore an analogy between the thermodynamics of a free dissipative quantum particle in one dimension and that of an electromagnetic field between two mirrors of finite conductivity. While a free particle isolated from its environment will effectively be in the high-temperature limit for any nonvanishing temperature, a finite coupling to the environment leads to quantum effects ensuring the correct low-temperature behavior. Even then, it is found that under appropriate circumstances the entropy can be a nonmonotonic function of the temperature. Such a scenario with its specific dependence on the ratio of temperature and damping constant also appears for the transverse electric mode in the Casimir effect. The limits of vanishing dissipation for the quantum particle and of infinite conductivity of the mirrors in the Casimir effect both turn out to be noncontinuous.

Casimir network (ESF) Mit Unterstützung durch das Casimir-Netzwerk der ESF.