Time correlations in the fluorescence of a multilevel atom are studied in terms of the quantum statistics which describe the emission of the next photon. The next photon equations are substantially simpler than the a photon equations (or so-called optical Bloch equations) yet they contain phase information lost in the averaging procedure that yields the a photon equations. Employing the next photon equations we present a quantum formalism in which the time development of the wave function of the atom is dramatically modified by the observation of a dark period. This collapse of the quantum state due to measurements with a null result (such as the failure to record events in a photodetector) is the cause of intermittent atomic fluorescence even when the exciting field is arbitrarily coherent. The next photon and a photon formalisms are contrasted and applied to photon antibunching. The phenomenon of photon bunching which characterizes sideband correlations is also calculated. Observable effects particular to the coherent intermittency are emphasized.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||21|
|Journal||Physical Review A|
|State||Published - 1989|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics