Abstract

We investigate the two-photon decay rate of a highly excited atomic state which can decay to bound states of lower energy via cascade processes. We show that a naïve treatment of the process, based on the introduction of phenomenological decay rates for the intermediate, resonant states, leads to lower-order terms which need to be subtracted in order to obtain the coherent two-photon correction to the decay rate. The sum of the lower-order terms is exactly equal to the one-photon decay rate of the initial state, provided the naïve two-photon decay rates are summed over all available two-photon channels. A quantum electrodynamics treatment of the problem leads to an “automatic” subtraction of the lower-order terms.

Department(s)

Physics

Sponsor(s)

German Research Association

Keywords and Phrases

Atom-Photon Collisions; Bound States; Hydrogen Neutral Atoms; Resonant States; Two-Photon Processes

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Quantum electrodynamics

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version

Final Version

File Type

text

Language(s)

English

Rights

© 2009 American Physical Society (APS), All rights reserved.

Included in

Physics Commons

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