The Budapest Quantum Optics Group

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Tracktor beam: Is negative radiation pressure possible?

Árpád Lukács

(Department of Theoretical Physics, Institute for Particle and Nuclear Physics, Wigner RCP)

Time: Tue Mar 26 14:30:00 2013
Location: Building 1, Room 114, Auditorium

It is shown that in a large class of systems plane waves can act as tractor beams: i.e., an incident plane wave can exert a pulling force on the scatterer. The underlying physical mechanism for the pulling force is due to the sufficiently strong scattering of the incoming wave into another mode having a larger wave number, in which case excess momentum is created behind the scatterer. Such a tractor beam or negative radiation pressure effect arises naturally in systems where the coupling between the scattering channels is due to Aharonov—Bohm (AB) gauge potentials. It is demonstrated that this effect is also present if the AB potential is an induced, (“artificial”) gauge potential such as the one found in J. March-Russell, J. Preskill, F. Wilczek, Phys. Rev. Lett. 68 2567 (1992).