"Casimir effect due to a single boundary as a manifestation of the Weyl problem"Genya Kolomeisky , University of Virginia [Host: Dinko Pocanic]
ABSTRACT:
The Casimir selfenergy of a boundary is ultravioletdivergent. In many cases the divergences can be eliminated by methods such as zeta function regularization or through physical arguments (ultraviolet transparency of the boundary would provide a cutoff). Using the example of a massless scalar field theory with a Dirichlet boundary we explore the relationship between such approaches, with the goal of better understanding the origin of the divergences. We are guided by the insight due to Dowker and Kennedy (1978) and Deutsch and Candelas (1979), that the divergences represent measurable effects that can be interpreted with the aid of the theory of the asymptotic distribution of eigenvalues of the Laplacian first discussed by Weyl. In many cases the Casimir selfenergy is the sum of cutoffdependent (Weyl) terms having geometrical origin, and an "intrinsic" term that is independent of the cutoff. The Weyl terms make a measurable contribution to the physical situation even when regularization methods succeed in isolating the intrinsic part. Regularization methods fail when the Weyl terms and intrinsic parts of the Casimir effect cannot be clearly separated. Specifically, we demonstrate that the Casimir selfenergy of a smooth boundary in two dimensions is a sum of two Weyl terms (exhibiting quadratic and logarithmic cutoff dependence), a geometrical term that is independent of cutoff, and a nongeometrical intrinsic term. As byproducts we resolve the puzzle of the divergent Casimir force on a ring and correct the sign of the coefficient of linear tension of the Dirichlet line predicted in earlier treatments.

Colloquium Friday, March 26, 2010 4:00 PM Physics Building, Room 204 Note special time. Note special room. 
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