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Quantum Confined Laser DevicesOptical gain and recombination in semiconductors$
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Peter Blood

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199644513

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199644513.001.0001

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Quantum mechanical interaction of light with atoms

Quantum mechanical interaction of light with atoms

(p.85) 7 Quantum mechanical interaction of light with atoms
Quantum Confined Laser Devices

Peter Blood

Oxford University Press

The quantum mechanical description of the interaction of light with atoms treats absorption, gain, and recombination as upward and downward induced transitions of electrons between two states by perturbation due to the optical electric field. This provides the basis for a quantitative theory of diode lasers. The chapter begins with Einstein’s description of absorption, stimulated emission, and spontaneous emission, setting the scene for calculation of the transition probability by solving the time-dependent Schrödinger equation for a coherent superposition of the wavefunctions of two states. The resulting absorption spectrum has a Lorentzian lineshape due to dephasing of these wavefunctions. Expressions for the optical absorption cross section and Einstein coefficients are derived in terms of the dipole matrix element, and the dipole is illustrated using a hypothetical one-dimensional atom. Fermi’s Golden Rule for transitions to a continuum of states (as in quantum wells) is introduced in terms of the momentum matrix element.

Keywords:   stimulated emission, spontaneous emission, Einstein coefficients, perturbation, induced transitions, coherent supposition, dephasing, dipole matrix element, Fermi’s Golden Rule

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