Countering a fundamental law of attraction with quantum wave-packet engineering

G. Amit, Y. Japha, T. Shushi, R. Folman, E. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Cold atoms hold much promise for the realization of quantum technologies, but still encounter many challenges. In this work we show how the fundamental Casimir-Polder force, by which atoms are attracted to a surface, may be temporarily suppressed by utilizing a specially designed quantum potential, which is familiar from the hydrodynamic or Bohmian reformulations of quantum mechanics. We show that when harnessing the quantum potential via suitable atomic wave-packet engineering, the absorption by the surface can be dramatically reduced. As a result, the probing time of the atoms as sensors can increase. This is proven both analytically and numerically. Furthermore, an experimental scheme is proposed for achieving the required shape for the atomic wave packet. All these may assist existing applications of cold atoms in metrology and sensing and may also enable prospective ones. Finally, these results shed light on the notion of quantum potential and its significance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number013150
JournalPhysical Review Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 authors. Published by the American Physical Society. Published by the American Physical Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license. Further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the published article's title, journal citation, and DOI.


The authors wish to thank numerous colleagues for helpful discussions, and in particular, Eli Pollak, Daniel Rohrlich, Shim'on Sukholuski, and Yaara Shaked for their helpful comments and support. This work was funded in part by the Israel Science Foundation (Grants No. 856/18 and No. 1314/19), the DFG through the DIP program (Grant No. 703/2-1), the Israel Innovation Authority (Grants No. 70002 and No. 73795), Elta Systems Ltd., the Israeli Council for Higher Education, the Pazy Foundation, and the Israeli Ministry of Science and Technology. This research was supported by Grant No. FQXi-RFP-CPW-2006 from the Foundational Questions Institute and the Fetzer Franklin Fund, a donor-advised fund of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

FundersFunder number
Elta Systems Ltd.
Fetzer Franklin Fund
Israel Innovation Authority70002, 73795
Silicon Valley Community Foundation
Foundational Questions Institute
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft703/2-1
Israel Science Foundation1314/19, 856/18
Council for Higher Education
Ministry of science and technology, IsraelFQXi-RFP-CPW-2006
PAZY Foundation


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