Abstract

The coherent radiation of N atoms that are excited by an external field is studied close to a resonant transition. The resonant atoms are uniformly distributed over a sphere and the external field is a pulse that propagates in a fixed direction. The linear classical continuum theory is used for the above configuration. Exact expressions are obtained for the polarization, for the fields everywhere in space, and for the energy radiated and absorbed by the resonant atoms. Two equivalent methods for the derivation of the exact expression of the polarization are given, i.e., either by solving Maxwell’s equations and boundary conditions, or by solving an integral equation inside the sample. The equivalence of the two methods, in the general case of an arbitrary external field, has been proved elsewhere. Approximate expressions are also obtained for the physical quantities mentioned above in the extreme cases of a dilute and a dense resonant sample with radius much smaller than the radiation wavelength. Inside the dense small sample the polarization depends on position, and this space dependence is expressed in terms of spherical Bessel functions and vector spherical harmonics. It is shown that outside the dense small sample, a broadening of the original resonant line and a shift of the resonance frequency occur in the radiation spectrum of the atoms.

© 1979 Optical Society of America

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Equations (139)

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