How Many Physically Significant Solutions are There to the Self-Induced Transparency Equations?
The interaction of a coherent electromagnetic wave with a collection of two-level atoms is of major theoretical importance in the study of the interaction of light with matter, not only because analytical solutions can be obtained but also because experiments can be devised which closely approximate this ideal case. In the past there has been some controversy concerning the interpretation of the analytical solutions to this problem . Although previously unpublished, the controversy is real and the problem is of sufficient fundamental importance to demand its resolution. Such is the purpose of the work described here.
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