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Simple and consistent spontaneous emission rate derivation with a physically justified frequency cutoff

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posted on 2023-05-18, 16:00 authored by Wojciech Górecki
The exact determination of the spontaneous emission coefficient for an excited atom is an extremely complex problem so various approximations are typically used. One of the most popular ones is the use of the dipole approximation of a two-level atom followed by rotating wave approximation (RWA). However, such an approach applied to the entire frequency spectrum results in the appearance of divergent integrals in the derivations, which are not treated rigorously in typical student textbooks. It is known from the literature that the introduction of cutoff for frequencies, justified by the finite size of the atom, may solve this problem. For didactic purposes, in this paper, we introduce a mathematically simple cutoff, which allows for a straightforward yet mathematically consistent rederivation of the Weisskopf-Wigner spontaneous emission rate (up to the small correction) within RWA. Importantly, this cutoff is not a mathematical trick to make calculations easier but is related to a real feature of the physical system, the neglect of which leads to inconsistency. More precise analysis demand going beyond RWA and dipole approximation.



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