Atom-wall dispersive forces: a microscopic approach
We present a study of atom-wall interactions in non-relativistic quantum electrodynamics by functional integral methods. The Feynman-Kac path integral representation is generalized when the particle interacts with a radiation field, providing an additional effective potential that contains all the interactions induced by the field. We show how one can retrieve the standard van der Waals, Casimir-Polder and classical Lifshiftz forces in this formalism for an atom in its ground state. Moreover, when electrostatic interactions are screened in the medium, we find low-temperature corrections that are not included in the Lifshitz theory of fluctuating forces and are opposite to them.