Induced Superfluorescence and the Nature of the Wave-Particle Duality

  • F. Selleri
  • J. P. Vigier


It is now possible in practice to observe macroscopic fluctuations in the time domain initiated by an isolated single spontaneous atomic emission of light. This is the socalled “superfluorescence effect (SF)” described in some recent papers.1 SF produces radiation pulses with much larger amplitude than predicted for normal incoherent radiation processes. The phenomenon is similar to the so-called “laser effect,” because the coherent decay of something like 108 atoms is triggered by a single spontaneous emission due to quantum fluctuations of the electromagnetic field in vacuum. This phenomenon, first detected in 1973,2 has been observed in a number of near-infrared, infrared, and optical transitions,3 Atomic cesium is used for studying SF from a pencilshaped volume of active atoms. The SF emission from the pencil goes mainly through its end-faces into two narrow solid angles ?Ω. The emitted light pulse reaches a peak intensity proportional to N2 (where N is the number of excited atoms) at the so-called “delay time” tD ~ (tR/4) (1n N)2, withtR = tn/ (N?Ω/4π). The emitted field behaves a classical coherent field. It has a well-defined amplitude and phase: SF emission pulses from two different samples with slightly different SF transmission frequencies produce beats. Experiment confirms that the strength of the initiating quantum noise determines the average delay time.4 SF is set off by the first photon emitted spontaneously in the solid angle ?Ω and yields as predicted by theory a relative standard deviation in the delay time of 12% for N = 108 excited atoms.


Wave Packet Excited Atom Trigger Pulse Average Delay Time Coherent Field 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References and Notes

  1. 1.
    Q. H. F. Vrehen, M. F. H. Schuurmans, and D. Polder, Nature 285, 70 (1980).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    N. Skribanowitz et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 30, 309 (1973).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Q. H. F. Vrehen, Laser Spectroscopy IV Proceedings of the Fourth Int. Conf. Rottach-Egern; Fed. Rep. Germany, June 11–15, 1979, H. Walther and K. W. Rothe, editors (Springer-Verlag, Heidelberg, 1979).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Q. H. F. Vrehen and M. F. H. Schuurmans, Phys. Rev. Lett. 42, 224 (1979).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    See Ref. 3Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    R. L. Pfleegor and L. Mandel, Phys. Rev. 159, 1084 (1967)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. R. L. Pfleegor and L. Mandel, J. Opt. Soc. Amer. 58, 946 (1968).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 7.
    E. E. Fitchard, Found. Phys. 9, 525 (1979).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 8.
    F. Selleri and J. -P. Vigier, “Sur la description de Copenhague de la mésure de spin des systemes quantiques correlées,” Bari-Poincaré preprint (1980).Google Scholar
  10. 9.
    A. Einstein, in A. Einstein Philosopher-Scientist P. A. Schlipp, editor (Library of Living Philosophers, 1949).Google Scholar
  11. 10.
    L. de Broglie, La Theorie Quantique Restera-t-elle indeterministe? (Gauthier-Villars, Paris, 1952).Google Scholar
  12. 11.
    D. Bohm and J. -P. Vigier, Phys. Rev. 96, 208 (1954)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. W. Lehr and J. Park, J. Math. Phys. 18, 1235 (1977)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. E. Nelson, Phys. Rev. 150, 1079 (1966).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 12.
    L. de Broglie, La Thermodynamique de Ja Particule lsolée (Gauthier-Villars, Paris, 1964).Google Scholar
  16. 13.
    J. -P. Vigier, Nuovo Cimento Lett. 24, 265 (1979); 24, 258 (1979)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. N. Cufaro-Petroni and J. -P. Vigier, Nuovo Cimento Lett. 25, 15 (1979); 29, 149 (1979).Google Scholar
  18. 14.
    J. F. Clauser, Phys. Rev. D 9, 853 (1974).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 15.
    F. Selleri, Nuovo Cimento Lett. 1, 908 (1969)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. A. Szczepanski, Found. Phys. 6, 427 (1976)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. A. Garuccio and J. -P. Vigier, Found. Phys. 10, 797 (1980),CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. Selleri
    • 1
  • J. P. Vigier
    • 2
  1. 1.Istituto di FisicaUniversità di BariBariItaly
  2. 2.Institut Henri PoincaréParisFrance

Personalised recommendations