## Abstract

This chapter discusses the interaction of radiation with atoms and ions that weakly interact with surrounding species, such as atoms or ions in a gas phase or impurity ions in an ionic crystal. The somewhat more complicated case of radiation interacting with molecules or semiconductors is considered in Chap. 3. Since the topic of radiation interacting with matter is very wide, we limit our discussion to phenomena relevant to atoms and ions acting as active media. After an introduction to the theory of blackbody radiation, a milestone for the whole of modern physics, we consider the elementary processes of absorption, stimulated emission, spontaneous emission, and nonradiative decay. These are first considered under the simplifying assumptions of a dilute medium and low intensity. Situations involving high-beam intensity and a nondilute medium (leading to the phenomena of saturation and amplified spontaneous emission) are considered. A number of very important. although perhaps less general topics related to the photophysics of dye lasers, free-electron lasers, and x-ray lasers are briefly considered in Chaps. 9 and 10.

## Keywords

Spontaneous Emission Cavity Mode Blackbody Radiation Nonradiative Decay Transition Cross Section## Preview

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