Light propagation beyond the mean-field theory of standard optics

Javanainen, Juha and Ruostekoski, Janne (2016) Light propagation beyond the mean-field theory of standard optics. Optics Express, 24 (2). pp. 993-1001. ISSN 1094-4087

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With ready access to massive computer clusters we may now study light propagation in a dense cold atomic gas by means of basically exact numerical simulations. We report on a direct comparison between traditional optics, that is, electrodynamics of a polarizable medium, and numerical simulations in an elementary problem of light propagating through a slab of matter. The standard optics fails already at quite low atom densities, and the failure becomes dramatic when the average interatomic separation is reduced to around 1/k, where k is the wave number of resonant light. The difference between the two solutions originates from correlations between the atoms induced by light-mediated dipole-dipole interactions.

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Journal Article
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Optics Express
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23 Feb 2018 10:18
Last Modified:
22 Nov 2022 05:31