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Lectures on LightNonlinear and Quantum Optics using the Density Matrix$
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Stephen C. Rand

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198757450

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198757450.001.0001

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Quantized Fields and Coherent States

Quantized Fields and Coherent States

(p.168) 6 Quantized Fields and Coherent States
Lectures on Light

Stephen C. Rand

Oxford University Press

Chapter 6 transforms the optical wave into a quantized form. The electric field is pictured as an infinite ladder of discrete states: this structure allows optical interactions to be described photon by photon. The origin of spontaneous emission emerges as a transition process that is stimulated by electric field fluctuations of the vacuum; Weisskopf–Wigner theory explains why it is irreversible. Squeezed states are introduced and qualitatively unique properties are identified. Statistical analysis of light fields serves as a basis for more quantitative comparisons of fields and their noise properties. Methods of calculating the first and second degrees of coherence are presented. The ranges of values corresponding to “classical” versus “quantum” light sources are discussed. The reduced density matrix is developed to justify analysis that focuses on a subset of the components or dynamics of a complex system, ignoring aspects that are not of primary interest. The problem of calculating the fluorescence spectrum of resonantly excited two-level atoms is considered using both a method of moments and dressed atom theory.

Keywords:   quantized fields, photon, spontaneous emission, coherent states, statistical analysis, reduced density matrix, resonance fluorescence, dressed atom theory, optical dynamics

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