Spontaneous Radiative Decay of a Continuum

  • D. Agassi
Conference paper


An interesting aspect of atoms capable of undergoing photoionization1 is the spontaneous decay of the excited continuum to a lower discrete state. This process is an extension of the classical spontaneous decay of a single two-level atom where the excited level is replaced by a continuum of states with a given dipole-strength distribution and initial mode of preparation. As is shown below,2 there exists a closed form for the time-dependent density matrix, which yields in the proper limit the spontaneous decay of an N-level atom where the only couplings are between the excited states and a common lowest state. In the trivial limit of a two-level atom we recover the well known expression for the Einstein A-coefficient.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Agassi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Physics & AstronomyUniversity of RochesterRochesterUSA

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