Field-Correlation Effects in Multiphoton Absorption Processes Academic Article uri icon


  • The dependence of the multiphoton absorption probability for an atomic system on the statistical properties of the incident light is investigated. It is shown, by means of nth-order time-dependent perturbation theory, that the multiphoton absorption probability depends on the (n, n)th normally ordered correlation functions of the electromagnetic field. For stationary fields, the transition probability per unit time is constant and is directly related to the reduced cross-spectral correlation function of the electromagnetic field. This expression for the transition probability is then analyzed under various conditions of coherence. Explicit calculations are carried out for thermal light and for laser light, and the transition rates are compared when each has a Lorentzian spectrum. In particular, when the width of the final atomic level is much larger than the bandwidth of the field, the transition rate for thermal light is n! times higher than with laser light of the same mean intensity. The other extreme case, i.e., when the width of the final atomic level is much smaller than the bandwidth of the field, is also considered in detail. An equation for the density operator of the field is derived; this equation governs the change in the statistical properties of the photon system in n-photon absorption processes. On the basis of this equation, the time-dependent properties of the photon system are then studied and some physical consequences of these equations are discussed. Some numerical solutions relating to the time dependence of the factorial moments in two-photon absorption processes are presented. 1970 The American Physical Society.

published proceedings

  • Physical Review A

author list (cited authors)

  • Agarwal, G. S.

citation count

  • 196

complete list of authors

  • Agarwal, GS

publication date

  • May 1970