Spontaneous emission and level shifts in absorbing disordered dielectrics and dense atomic gases: A Green's function approach
- Abstract: Spontaneous emission and Lamb shift of atoms in absorbing dielectrics are discussed. A Green's-function approach is used based on the multipolar interaction Hamiltonian of a collection of atomic dipoles with the quantised radiation field. The rate of decay and level shifts are determined by the retarded Green's-function of the interacting electric displacement field, which is calculated from a Dyson equation describing multiple scattering. The positions of the atomic dipoles forming the dielectrics are assumed to be uncorrelated and a continuum approximation is used. The associated unphysical interactions between different atoms at the same location is eliminated by removing the point-interaction term from the free-space Green's-function (local field correction). For the case of an atom in a purely dispersive medium the spontaneous emission rate is altered by the well-known Lorentz local-field factor. In the presence of absorption a result different from previously suggested expressions is found and nearest-neighbour interactions are shown to be important.