Optics and Spectroscopy

, Volume 99, Issue 3, pp 498–502 | Cite as

Thermal fluctuations of a quantized electromagnetic field in weakly absorbing media

  • B. A. Veklenko
  • Yu. B. Sherkunov
Quantum-Electrodynamic Processes Near the Surface


The quantum fluctuations of an electromagnetic field in thermally excited media are calculated using the quantum electrodynamical method of Γ operators and without invoking phenomenological elements. The drawbacks of the standard theory based on the fluctuation-dissipation theorem and on the Matsubara technique of temperature Green’s functions are indicated. The decisive role of the correct consideration of higher order photon-photon correlators and the inadmissibility of their approximation by products of lower order correlators are underlined. It is shown that, contrary to the accepted opinion, the quantum fluctuations of an electromagnetic field cannot be expressed via the refractive indices of media introduced into the theory for the calculation of mean fields. The results obtained are compared with those previously derived using the Matsubara technique for calculation of the Green’s functions of an electromagnetic field in dispersive media under conditions of thermodynamic equilibrium. The previous results are shown to be incorrect at least for media consisting of atoms or molecules with a discrete energy spectrum.


Refractive Index Electromagnetic Field Decisive Role Optical Spectroscopy Standard Theory 
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Copyright information

© Pleiades Publishing, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. A. Veklenko
    • 1
  • Yu. B. Sherkunov
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute for High TemperaturesRussian Academy of SciencesMoscowRussia
  2. 2.Institute for High Energy Densities, Joint Institute for High TemperaturesRussian Academy of SciencesMoscowRussia

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