Coherence in Spontaneous Radiation Processes

Phys. Rev. 93, 99 – Published 1 January 1954
R. H. Dicke


By considering a radiating gas as a single quantum-mechanical system, energy levels corresponding to certain correlations between individual molecules are described. Spontaneous emission of radiation in a transition between two such levels leads to the emission of coherent radiation. The discussion is limited first to a gas of dimension small compared with a wavelength. Spontaneous radiation rates and natural line breadths are calculated. For a gas of large extent the effect of photon recoil momentum on coherence is calculated. The effect of a radiation pulse in exciting "super-radiant" states is discussed. The angular correlation between successive photons spontaneously emitted by a gas initially in thermal equilibrium is calculated.


  • Received 25 August 1953
  • Published in the issue dated January 1954

© 1954 The American Physical Society

Authors & Affiliations

R. H. Dicke

  • Palmer Physical Laboratory, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey

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