Quantum interference due to energy shifts and its effect on spontaneous emission

Zheng Hong Li*, Da Wei Wang, Hang Zheng, Shi Yao ZHU, M. Suhail Zubairy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


We study the quantum interference in spontaneous emission with the inclusion of counterrotating terms and energy shifts. The energy shifts come from the emission and then reabsorption of virtual photons as well as the real photon emission. We show that the quantum interference resulting from the energy shifts has significant influence on the effective decay rates of the two levels, even when the transition dipole elements are the same and the energy separation of the two levels is small. We also show that the energy shift has substantial influence on the spectrum emitted by the atom. The result is valid in the long time limit. The effect of the energy shift can be observed at the time scale of 1 over the atomic decay rate. We suggest an experiment to test the effect of quantum interference because of energy shifts on the emission spectrum.

Original languageEnglish
Article number050501
JournalPhysical Review A
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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