Interaction of Radiation with Atoms and Ions

  • Orazio Svelto


This chapter deals with the interaction of radiation with atoms and ions which are weakly interacting with any surrounding species, such as atoms or ions in a gas phase or impurity ions in an ionic crystal. The somewhat more complicated case of interaction of radiation with molecules or semiconductors will be considered in the next chapter. Since the subject of radiation interaction with matter is, of course, very wide, we will limit our discussion to those phenomena which are relevant for atoms and ions acting as active media. So, after an introductory section dealing with the theory of blackbody radiation, a milestone for the whole of modern physics, we will consider the elementary processes of absorption, stimulated emission, spontaneous emission, and nonradiative decay. They will first be considered within the simplifying assumptions of a dilute medium and a low intensity. Following this, situations involving a high beam intensity and a medium that is not dilute (leading, in particular, to the phenomena of saturation and amplified spontaneous emission) will be considered. A number of very important, although perhaps less general, topics relating to the photophysics of dye lasers, free-electron lasers, and X-ray lasers will be briefly considered in Chaps. 9 and 10 immediately preceding the discussion of the corresponding laser.


Electric Dipole Spontaneous Emission Electric Dipole Moment Amplify Spontaneous Emission Blackbody Radiation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. 1.
    R. Reiff, Fundamentals of Statistical and Thermal Physics, (McGraw-Hill, New York, 1965), Chap. 9Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    W. Heitler, The Quantum Theory of Radiation, 3rd edn.(Oxford University Press, London, 1953), Sect. II.9Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    J.A. Stratton, Electromagnetic Theory, 1st edn. (McGraw-Hill, New York, 1941), pp. 431–438MATHGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    R.H. Pantell and H.E. Puthoff, Fundamentals of Quantum Electronics, (Wiley, New York, 1964), Chap. 6Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    W. Louisell, Radiation and Noise in Quantum Electronics, (McGraw-Hill, New York, 1964), Chap. 6Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    H.A. Lorentz, The Theory of Electrons, 2nd edn. (Dover, New York 1952), Chap. IIIGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    A. Einstein, On the Quantum Theory of Radiation, Z. Phys. 18, 121 (1917)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Radiation and Noise in Quantum Electronics, (McGraw-Hill, New York, 1964), Chap. 5Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    H.G. Kuhn, Atomic Spectra, 2nd edn. (Longmans, Green, London 1969), Chap. VIIGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Radiationless Transitions, ed. by F.J. Fong (Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 1976) Chap. 4Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    C.K. Rhodes and A. Szoke, Gaseous Lasers: Atomic, Molecular, Ionic in Laser Handbook ed. by F.T. Arecchi and E.O. Schultz-DuBois (North Holland, Amsterdam 1972) Vol. 1 pp 265–324Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    J.B. Birks, Photophysics of Aromatic Molecules (Wiley-Interscience, New-York, 1970), Sect. 11.9Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    D.L. Dexter, J. Chem. Phys. 21, 836 (1953)CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    J.D. Jackson, Classical Electrodynamics (Wiley, New York, 1975) Sect. 9.2Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    W.J. Miniscalco, Optical and Electronic Properties of Rare Earth Ions in Glasses, in Rare Earth Doped Fiber Lasers and Amplifiers ed. by M.J.F. Digonnet (Marcel Dekker, New York, 1993), Chap. 2Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    T. Holstein, Imprisonment of Resonant Radiation in Gases, Phys. Rev. 72, 1212 (1947)CrossRefADSMATHGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    L.W. Casperson, Threshold Characteristics of Mirrorless Lasers, J. Appl. Phys. 48, 256 (1977)CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    R. Arrathoon, Helium-Neon Lasers and the Positive Column in Lasers ed. by A.K. Levine and A.J. DeMaria (Marcel Dekker, New York, 1976), Tab. 2Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    M.H. Dunn and J.N. Ross, The Argon Laser in Progress in Quantum Electronics, Vol. 4 ed. by J.H. Sanders and S. Stenholm (Pergamon Press, Oxford 1977), Tab. 2Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    W.F. Krupke, M.D. Shinn, J.E. Marion, J.A. Caird, S.E. Stokowski, Spectroscopic, Optical, and Thermomechanical Properties of Neodymium- and Chromium-Doped Gadolinium Scandium Gallium Garnet, J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 3, 102 (1986)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    J.C. Walling, O.G. Peterson, J.P. Jennsen, R.C. Morris, and E.W. O’Dell, Tunable Alexandrite Lasers, IEEE J. Quant. Electr. QE-16, 1302 (1980)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Orazio Svelto
    • 1
  1. 1.Dipto. FisicaPolitecnico di MilanoMilanoItaly

Personalised recommendations