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Definition: collective emission of an ensemble of atoms or ions after coherent excitation
Superradiance is a phenomenon of collective emission of an ensemble of excited atoms or ions, first considered by Dicke .
It is similar to superfluorescence, but it starts with the coherent excitation of the ensemble, usually with an optical pulse.
This coherence (i.e. a well-defined phase relationship between the excitation amplitudes of lower and upper electronic states) leads to a macroscopic dipole moment.
The maximum intensity of the emitted light scales with the square of the number of atoms, because each atom contributes a certain amount to the emission amplitude, and the intensity is proportional to the square of the amplitude.
As the number of photons rises in a kind of chain reaction, Dicke later (in a patent application) described the phenomenon of superradiance as an optical bomb.
See also: superfluorescence
Category: quantum optics
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