The Semiclassical Description of Spontaneous Decay

  • John N. Dodd
Part of the Physics of Atoms and Molecules book series (PIDF)


Formulas for the decay constant have been deduced in two places above. In the classical approach, the decay constant is defined through the equation
where W(t) is the energy of the system at time t, and P(t) is the power of dissipation (or radiation). Classical electromagnetic theory gives Eq. (3.31) for P(0), and the classical energy of a mechanical oscillator is W(0) = 4π2 v mA . The result for the classical decay constant of an oscillating and radiating charge is Eq. (3.27):


Decay Constant Spontaneous Emission Excited Atom Probability Amplitude Radiation Reaction 
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    D. T. Pegg, “Absorber Theory in Quantum Optics,” Phys. Ser., T12, 14–18 (1986).ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    T. H. Boyer, “Derivation of the Blackbody Radiation Spectrum Without Quantum Assumptions,” Phys. Rev. 182, 1374–1383 (1969).ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    H. A. Bethe, “The Electromagnetic Shift of Energy Levels,” Phys. Rev. 72, 339–341 (1947).ADSzbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • John N. Dodd
    • 1
  1. 1.University of OtagoOtagoNew Zealand

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