Quantum treatment of field propagation in an atomic medium

Seng Tiong Ho*, Prem Kumar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The rigorous formulation of quantum optics often starts with the nonrelativistic minimal interaction Hamilton for the atoms and field, and a set of temporal equations of motion for the annihilation operators are then derived. In many experiments, however, it is necessary to describe the spatial propagation of the electromagnetic field. Usually this is done by heuristically replacing the time variable by a space variable. Because of this ad hoc way of obtaining spatial propagation, it is not possible to compare the results of traveling-wave quantum optic experiments with the fundamental quantum electrodynamic theory. The authors provide the missing link between the theory and experiments by rigorously treating spatial propagation in an atomic medium within the framework of quantum electrodynamics. They find important differences between their approach and the conventional approaches, even for the simple case of a lossless refractive medium.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationQuantum Electron Laser Sci Conf
Editors Anon
PublisherPubl by IEEE
Number of pages1
StatePublished - Dec 1 1989
EventQuantum Electronics and Laser Science Conference - Baltimore, MD, USA
Duration: Apr 24 1989Apr 28 1989


OtherQuantum Electronics and Laser Science Conference
CityBaltimore, MD, USA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)


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