Quantum beats in correlation functions of spontaneously emitted radiation and the transition rates of a multilevel atom Academic Article uri icon


  • Spontaneous emission from a multilevel atom is studied from the viewpoint of quantum beats. The master equation describing the atomic dynamics is shown to have some parameters that oscillate at the beat frequencies, and because of this a Pauli type of master equation for the diagonal elements of the density matrix is not obtained. As a result, the transition rates in the atomic system show the characteristic beats. The relation of the rate of change of the energy of the atomic system to the total power radiated in the far zone is also established. The normally and antinormally ordered correlation functions of the spontaneously emitted radiation are calculated under the approximation that the level widths are much smaller than the beat frequencies. The contribution arising from the interference of the free field and the source terms to antinormally ordered correlations is carefully evaluated. The nature of beats present in normally and antinormally ordered correlations is discussed, and their detection from the viewpoint of causing transitions in another atom is considered. The change in the nature of beats due to atomic collective effects is studied. Finally, it is shown that because of quantum effects, intensity correlations do not show any beats. 1977 The American Physical Society.

published proceedings

  • Physical Review A

author list (cited authors)

  • Agarwal, G. S.

citation count

  • 17

complete list of authors

  • Agarwal, GS

publication date

  • June 1977