Zeitschrift für Physik

, Volume 234, Issue 3, pp 193–206

Functional Fokker-Planck treatment of electromagnetic field propagation in a thermal medium


  • R. Graham
    • I. Institut für Theoretische Physik der Universität
  • H. Haken
    • I. Institut für Theoretische Physik der Universität

DOI: 10.1007/BF01396782

Cite this article as:
Graham, R. & Haken, H. Z. Physik (1970) 234: 193. doi:10.1007/BF01396782


The quantum statistics of continuous space time dependent electromagnetic fields is analyzed by means of functionals. The case of a field propagating in a thermal reservoir serves as a simple example to illustrate the succeeding steps: a masterequation is derived for the density operator which is a functional of the field operators. By means of the coherent state representation for continuous fields the masterequation is transformed into a functional differential equation in the function space, spanned by the coherent state amplitudes. This equation is of the Fokker-Planck type and determines a Gaussian process for a continuum of variables or a field. It is solved by determining the characteristics in function space of the associated equation of motion for the characteristic functional and subsequent functional integration. The solution is used to calculate some correlation functions and the spectral function of the field.

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© Springer-Verlag 1970