The collective Lamb shift in nuclear γ-ray superradiance
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The electromagnetic transitions of Mössbauer nuclei provide almost ideal two-level systems to transfer quantum optical concepts into the regime of hard x-rays. If many identical atoms collectively interact with a resonant radiation field, one observes (quantum) optical properties that are strongly different from those of a single atom. The most prominent effect is the broadening of the resonance line known as collective enhancement, resulting from multiple scattering of real photons within the atomic ensemble. On the other hand, the exchange of virtual photons within the ensemble leads to a tiny energy shift of the resonance line, the collective Lamb shift, that remained experimentally elusive for a long time after its prediction. Here we illustrate how highly brilliant synchrotron radiation allows one to prepare superradiant states of excited Mössbauer nuclei, an important condition for observation of the collective Lamb shift.
KeywordsCollective Lamb shift Superradiance Mössbauer effect Synchrotron radiation
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