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Physics and Astronomy Colloquium

Dominik Schneble, Stony Brook
Exploring the physics of spontaneous emission with atomic matter waves

The quantitative understanding of spontaneous  emission harks back to the early days of QED,   when in 1930 Weisskopf and Wigner, using Dirac’s  radiation theory, calculated the transition rate  of an excited atom undergoing radiative decay.  Their model, which describes the emission of a   photon through coherent coupling of the atom’s  dipole moment to the continuum of vacuum modes,  reflects the view that spontaneous emission into  free space, driven by vacuum fluctuations, is inherently irreversible.

In my talk, I will describe recent studies of the Weisskopf-Wigner model in a novel context that  
allowed us to go beyond the model’s usual assumptions. For this purpose, we created an  array of microscopic atom traps in an optical  lattice that emit single atoms, rather than  single photons, into the surrounding vacuum. Our  ultracold system, which provides a tunable matter-wave analog of photon emission in  photonic-bandgap materials, revealed behavior  beyond standard exponential decay with its  associated Lamb shift. It includes partial  backflow of radiation into the emitter, and the  formation of a long-predicted bound state in  which the emitted particle hovers around the  emitter in an evanescent wave. My talk will  conclude with an outlook on using our new  platform for studies of dissipative many-body  physics and (non)-Markovian matter-wave quantum optics in optical lattices.

Tea at 3:30 p.m. Bausch & Lomb Hall Lobby

Wednesday, February 20, 2019 at 3:45pm to 4:45pm

Bausch and Lomb Hall, 106
500 Wilson Blvd, Rochester, NY

Event Type

Lectures and Talks


General Public, Faculty, Students, Staff


Department of Physics and Astronomy
Contact Phone or Email

(585) 275-4344

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