Spontaneous emission in a standing-wave cavity: Classical center-of-mass motion

W. Ren*, J. D. Cresser, H. J. Carmichael

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


We present a nonperturbative result for the spectrum of spontaneous photons emitted by an atom coupled on resonance to a standing-wave cavity mode. Motion of the atom through the standing-wave mode function is included in a classical way. We discuss the form of the spectrum as a function of the velocity of the atom in the limit of strong dipole coupling. For slow atoms the normal-mode doublet (vacuum Rabi spectrum) survives with small changes. The motion of a fast atom through the standing wave averages the coupling constant to zero, and the spectrum reverts to a single peak. At intermediate velocities the spectrum has a complicated multipeaked structure that can be understood in terms of interfering probability amplitudes for different quantum-mechanical emission paths or as a frequency-modulation spectrum for radiating coupled oscillators.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7162-7178
Number of pages17
JournalPhysical Review A
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1992


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