We measured ratios of van der Waals potential coefficients (C3) for different atoms (Li, Na, K, and Rb) interacting with the same surface by studying atom diffraction from a nanograting. These measurements are a sensitive test of atomic structure calculations because C3 ratios are strongly influenced by core electrons and only weakly influenced by the permittivity and geometry of the surface. Our measurement uncertainty of 2% in the ratio C3K/C3Na is close to the uncertainty of the best theoretical predictions, and some of these predictions are inconsistent with our measurement.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)