Research Papers in Physics and Astronomy


Date of this Version

March 1997


Published by American Physical Society. Phys. Rev. A 55, 815 (1997). Copyright © 1997 American Physical Society. Permission to use.


We study the nonadditive part of the long-range interaction among three alkali-metal atoms in their ground states. Using nondegenerate perturbation theory, up to the third order, we have computed the dispersion coefficients C for three alkali-metal atoms interacting via their electric dipole moments. Both heteronuclear and homonuclear cases are considered. The numerical values for the C coefficients suggest that such three-body dipole interaction effects may not be neglected in the description of the long-range surface potential interaction for alkali-metal atoms. Furthermore, we show that approximate formulas for C of Midzuno and Kihara [J. Phys. Soc. Jpn. 11, 1045 (1956)] give results in excellent agreement with results of our calculations. Comparisons are given of our results with results of others and with results of other approximate formulas. The effect on our results for the C coefficient of uncertainties in the experimental values of the static dipole polarizabilities, on which our results depend, is also analyzed.

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