, Volume 235, Issue 2, pp 166-180

Functional quantum statistics of light propagation in a two-level system

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The functional Fokker-Planck formalism developed in a preceding paper is applied to the problem of a radiation field propagating in a medium, which contains resonant two-level atoms. Besides the electromagnetic field also the medium is described by continuous space dependent fields. We give the masterequation and transform it into ac-number functional differential equation for a characteristic functional. This equation is reduced considerably by the projection onto one dimension and the introduction of the diffusion approximation. It forms a solid basis for the study of all types of light propagation in resonant media including classical and quantum noise.

We give an approximate solution of this equation by considering the problem of an externally pumped optical transmission line, in the case that saturation effects are absent. The spectral function of the electric field strength is obtained which describes a statistical mixture of photons with the quasiparticles of the polarization field. It shows the onset of a condensation of the quasiparticles into a single state. Self excitation of the transmission line is obtained at a certain threshold of the atomic inversion. This threshold is characterized by a finite occupation number of one single quasiparticle state. The influence of a finite length of the transmission line is briefly considered.