Rate-equation and Bloch-equation Theories of Radiation Pressure on Two-level Atoms

Optica acta 12/1012; September 1985:995-1013. DOI: 10.1080/713821831


Theories of radiation pressure based on rate equations and on the optical Bloch equations are developed within a common framework that allows comparison of the two. The latter method is used to determine the time dependence of the mean momentum of a two-level atom subjected to monochromatic coherent light for general values of various broadening parameters and detuning. The expression for the corresponding radiation pressure force in the limit of steady-state atomic level populations includes previous results as special cases. The rate equation method provides a fully quantum-mechanical calculation of an expression obtained by Einstein for the rate of change of mean-square atomic momentum in thermal equilibrium.

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