Spontaneous emission and photon dynamics in dielectric microcavities

D. P. Fussell*, M. M. Dignam, M. J. Steel, C. Martijn De Sterke, R. C. McPhedran

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


We consider spontaneous emission in dielectric microcavities with multiple resonances that may overlap in both position and frequency. By projecting the Green tensor onto a set of quasimodes associated with the resonances, we derive the reduced spontaneous emission rate. To demonstrate the accuracy and computational efficiency of our approach, we model spontaneous emission in a two-dimensional photonic crystal with two coupled defects. Employing a quantum mechanical interpretation, we show that the spontaneous emission involves both direct decay into the individual quasimodes and photon transfer between the quasimodes. The quantum path interference between these different emission channels can cause the spontaneous emission rate to differ dramatically from the rate obtained by the summation over resonant line shapes. We also show how our approach can be used to determine the emission into particular quasimodes of multiple-resonance microcavities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number043806
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalPhysical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes


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