A Test of Jaynes’ Neoclassical Theory: Incoherent Resonance Fluorescence from a Coherently Excited State

  • Hyatt M. Gibbs


There were two motivations for observing the incoherent[1] resonance fluorescence from coherently excited Rb atoms. The first was to demonstrate the quantum-electro-dynamic (QED) coherent-optical effect that the fluorescence should have maxima when the atoms are left in a state of maximum excitation and minima when the excitation is minimized[2,3]. This effect in an optically thin sample is analogous to the precession of a permanent magnetic moment driven by an external magnetic field rotating at the Larmor frequency. The second motivation was to test the semiclassical or neoclassical theory (NCT) of Jaynes, Crisp, Stroud, and co-workers[4,5]. NCT assumes that the expectation value of the dipole moment operator is an actual dipole moment which radiates according to classical electrodynamics. Thus NCT predicts a maximum fluorescence for equal admixtures of the ground and excited states and minima when the atom is closest to a pure state whether it is the excited or ground state. Whereas QED predicts maximum fluorescence for a pure excited state, NCT predicts no fluorescence. NCT’s electromagnetic field is not quantized so no zero-point fluctuations exist to give rise to spontaneous emission from a pure excited state.


Input Pulse Atomic Beam Neoclassical Theory Pulse Area Dynamic Shift 
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  1. 1.
    Coherent resonance fluorescence is calculated to be ≲ 10% of the incoherent fluorescence even at θ = π/2.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    I. D. Abella, N. A. Kurnit, and S. R. Hartmann, Phys. Rev. 141, 391 (1966). S. L. McCall and E. L. Hahn, Phys. Rev. 183, 457 (1969). The value of the dipole moment is derived in Ref. 6.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    H. P. Grieneisen, N. A. Kurnit, and A. Szöke, Optics Comm. 3, 259 (1971). In this reference is described a similar experiment in which the F versus θ oscillations are almost averaged out by level degeneracies and broadline absorption.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    M. D. Crisp and E. T. Jaynes, Phys. Rev. 179, 1253 (1969) particularly Eqs. (14) and (30). C. R. Stroud, Jr. and E. T. Jaynes, Phys. Rev. A 1, 106 (1970). D. Leiter, Phys. Rev. A 2, 259 (1970). E. T. Jaynes, Phys. Rev. A 2, 260 (1970).ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Several articles claiming to disprove the NCT have appeared during this experiment: R. K. Nesbet, Phys. Rev. Letters 27, 553 (1971); R. K. Nesbet, Phys. Rev. A 4, 259 (1971); J. F. Clauser, Phys. Rev. A, to be published; F. R. Nash and J. P. Gordon, to be published. These papers reanalyze previous experiments using NCT. The present experiment has the advantage of being the experiment suggested by Jaynes; it also demonstrates the validity of QED in a new regime.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Many details are contained in H. M. Gibbs and R. E. Slusher, Phys. Rev. Letters 24, 638 (1970); R. E. Slusher and H. M. Gibbs, Phys. Rev. A 5, 1634 (1972); H. M. Gibbs and R. E. Slusher, “Sharp-Line Self-Induced Transparency,” to be published.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    O. S. Heavens, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 51, 1058 (1961).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1973

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hyatt M. Gibbs
    • 1
  1. 1.Bell LaboratoriesMurray HillUSA

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