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Definition: collective emission of an ensemble of atoms or ions after coherent excitation

German: Superradianz

Category: quantum optics

How to cite the article; suggest additional literature

Superradiance is a phenomenon of collective emission of an ensemble of excited atoms or ions, first considered by Dicke [1]. 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.


[1]R. H. Dicke, “Coherence in spontaneous emission processes”, Phys. Rev. 93 (1), 99 (1954)
[2]N. E. Rehler and J. H. Eberly, “Superradiance”, Phys. Rev. A 3 (5), 1735 (1971)
[3]R. Bonifacio et al., “Quantum statistical theory of superradiance. I”, Phys. Rev. A 4 (1), 302 (1971)

(Suggest additional literature!)

See also: superfluorescence
and other articles in the category quantum optics

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