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Quantum Optics is a subject that deals with light that can only be treated as a stream of particles - called photons - rather than as classical electromagnetic waves. It involves the study of completely quantum mechanical treatments of light, matter and their interactions. This is a report on a introductory but exhaustive study of Quantum Optics and its application to atom-field interactions. The Jaynes-Cummings Model
(1963), which gives the physics behind the interaction of the EM field with a bistate system in a cavity, is systematically investigated with graphical calculations and some physical reasoning. It reports on the existence of the collapse-and-revivals through the simple yet completely quantum me-
chanical model.

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Jaynes-Cummings Model∗

Shouvik Datta†

Department of Physics, St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata-16

Visiting Student, Raman Research Institute, Bangalore-80

Abstract

Quantum Optics is a subject that deals with light that can only be

treated as a stream of particles - called photons - rather than as classi-

cal electromagnetic waves. It involves the study of completely quantum

mechanical treatments of light, matter and their interactions. This is a

report on a introductory but exhaustive study of Quantum Optics and

its application to atom-field interactions. The Jaynes-Cummings Model

(1963), which gives the physics behind the interaction of the EM field with

a bistate system in a cavity, is systematically investigated with graphical

calculations and some physical reasoning. It reports on the existence of

the collapse-and-revivals through the simple yet completely quantum me-

chanical model.

Oscillator and Photon Number States

The Hamiltonian for the SHO (in one-dimension) is given by,

p̂2 1

Ĥ = + mω 2 x2 (1)

2m 2

The Hamiltonian can be written in terms of the raising and lowering operator

as,

1

Ĥ = ~ω(âaˆ+ + ) (2)

2

where â and aˆ+ are defined as,

1

â = √ (mω x̂ + ip̂)

2m~ω

∗ This is a report for the Summer Project done at Raman Research Institute, Bangalore-80

† shouvikdatta8@gmail.com

1

and,

1

aˆ+ = √ (mω x̂ − ip̂)

2m~ω

Now, let φn = |ni.

1

Ĥ|ni = (n + )|ni (3)

2

It follows that aˆ+ â|ni = n|ni. We can thus define the number operator, n̂ to

be equal to aˆ+ â.

|ni is called the photon

√ number state or Fock state.

If x̂ = √q̂m and p̂ = mp̂ then,

1

â = √ (ω x̂ + ip̂)

2~ω

and,

1

aˆ+ = √ (ω x̂ − ip̂)

2~ω

Light can be considered to be an electromagnetic wave. Thus, in a way, it can

be related to the Simple Harmonic Oscillator as all oscillations can be connected

to the SHO.

Our task therefore is to find out the equivalents to the dynamical quantities

x̂ and p̂ of a SHO to that of an EM wave. From the Maxwell’s equations for an

EM wave in vaccum, we have,

~ = 0 = B

E ~ (4)

The above equation(s) has sinusoidal solutions in space and time. For example,

~ = B0 cos kzcos ωtŷ and E

B ~ = E0 sin kzsin ωtx̂. The energy density is given by,

1 B2

Uem = (0 E 2 + ) (5)

2 µ0

Confining our description of an EM wave in abox of volume V and length L, we

get the total energy to be,

V B2

Eem = (0 E02 sin2 ωt + o cos2 ωt) (6)

4 µ0

This implies that the energy oscillates back-and-forth between the electric and

magnetic fields.

~ = −∇φ ~˙ Choosing a gauge in

~ − A.

~ ~

which ∇ · A = 0 and φ = 0 we get,

0 ~˙ 2 ~ × A)

~ 2)

Uem = (A + c2 (∇

2

2

The EM field can also be described by the Lagrangian density as,

0 ~˙ 2 ~ × A)

~ 2)

L= (A − c2 (∇

2

This implies an oscillation between the KE and PE as well.

We define our in-phase and quadrature components as q(t) = (0 V /2)1/2 Eω0 sin ωt

and p(t) = (0 V /2)1/2 E0 cos ωt. Clearly, its evident that,

q̇ = p

and,

ṗ = −ω 2 q

√

If p = √pm

x

and q = mx then the ordinary SHO equation of motion is repro-

duced. The energy is now therefore,

1 2

Eem = (p + ω 2 q 2 ) (7)

2

We can define two dimensionless quantities known as field quadratures as,

ω 1/2

X1 (t) = ( ) q(t)

2~

and,

1 1/2

X2 (t) = (

) p(t)

2~ω

In the Quantum SHO we have 2 important features

1. The energy of the nth level is given by, En = ~ω(n + 21 ) and the zero-point

energy is given by E0 = 12 ~ω.

(1) can be interpreted as ”there are ’n’ photons each with energy ~ω along

with the zero point energy 12 ~ω”. And, it follows from (2) and our earlier

relations defining X1 and X2 that, ∆X1 ∆X2 ≥ ~2 . This gives the uncertainty

in quadratures.

We have, E0 = 21 ~ω. This may be thought of as arising from a randomly

fluctuating electric field called the vaccum field.

1

Z

2

0 Evac dV = ~ω (8)

2

If we sum over all the modes we get a divergent answer, the zero point energy

is infinite.

3

Figure 1: A shows a state arising from a randomly fluctuating electric field

called the vacuum field. B depicts a coherent state with equal uncertaintaties

in amplitude and phase. C shows a phase-squeezed state, while D shows a

amplitude-squeezed state. A squeezed vacuum state is revealed in E.

4

Figure 2: The coherent state represented in phase space of its quadrature compo-

nents. The minimum uncertainties(= 12 ) in phase and in amplitude are evident

from the diagram.

4 Coherent States

A Coherent State is the Quantum Mechanical equivalent to the classical

monochromatic EM wave. It is a complex dimensionless number. These states

are denoted in the Dirac notation as |αi. If X1 and X2 are the field quadratures

then α is defined as,

α = X1 + iX2 (9)

Also if α = |α|eiφ , then X1 = |α| cos φ and X2 = |α| sin φ.

It can be proved that coherent states are minimum uncertainty states with

equal uncertainties in the two quadratures. Also,

Eem = ~ω|α|2

Also, if n̄ be the average number of photons and each photon has √ energy ~ω

then, EQM = ~ω(n̄ + 12 ). For n̄ >> 1/2, EQM ' ~ωn̄. Thus, |α| = n̄.

The coherent state is defined to be a superposition of the stationary states

of the quantum harmonic oscillator as (definition due to Schrodinger),

∞

−|α|2 /2

X αn

|αi = e |ni (10)

n=0

(n!)1/2

5

1. Coherent States are eigenstates of the annihiliation operator, â|αi = α|αi.

2. The expection value of the number operator for coherent states is equal

to the average photon number, hn̂i = α∗ α = n̄.

3. The probability of the number of photons in a coherent state |αi to be n,

P (n) = |hn|αi|2 . This can be evaluated to give,

e−n̄ (n̄)n

P (n) = (11)

n!

So, coherent states show Poissonian Photon Statistics. The variance ∆n

is therefore equal to the mean n̄.

5 Squeezed States

The vacuum and coherent states are both minimum uncertainty states with

equal uncertainties in the two quadratures, ∆X1 = ∆X2 = 21 . The mini-

mum uncertainty product allows for other quantum optical states in phase space

which have unequal quadrature uncertainties. These states are called Squeezed

States.

As Squeezed States have unequal quadrature uncertainties, they may be

classified into two types : phase-squeezed light and amplitude-squeezed light.

They have smaller uncertainties in phase and amplitude than the coherent state

respectively. Phase-sqeezed light enables a greater precision of interferometric

measurements than the coherent state. The use of amplitude-squeezed light

gives smaller amplitude noise than that of a coherent state.

tics

We had seen that photons in coherent states followed Poissonian Statistics. This

provides a sort of a benchmark to classify light according to photon number

dristibutions. There are in general 3 types:

√

1. Sub-Poissonian Light, ∆n < n̄

√

2. Poissonian Light, ∆n = n̄

√

3. Super-Poissonian Light, ∆n > n̄

Super-Poissonian Light have a classical interpretation in terms of fluctua-

tions in the light intensity. Whenever thare are in fluctuations in intensity we

expect to observe a larger photon number fluctuation. Thermal light or black-

body radiation falls in this category.

Sub-Poissonian Light has a narrower distribution and is quieter than co-

herent light. These cannot be explained classically. They correspond to the

squeezed states in phase space.

6

Figure 3: Comparison of the photon statistics of light with Poisson distribution

with those of sub-Poissonian and super-Poissonian light. The distribution has

been drawn with the same mean photon number, n̄ = 100.

7 Atom-field Interactions

In presence of external fields, the Hamiltonian for an electron bound to an atom

is,

1

Ĥ(r, t) = [P̂ + eA(r, t)]2 − eΦ(r, t) + V (r) (12)

2m

where A(r, t) and Φ(r, t) are the vector and scalar potentials of the external

field. These are invariant under the gauge transformations

∂χ(r, t)

Φ0 (r, t) = Φ(r, t) −

∂t

A0 (r, t) = A(r, t) + ∇χ(r, t)

The Hamilitonian in terms of A0 and Φ0 will have the form,

1

Ĥ0(r, t) = [P̂ + eA0 (r, t)]2 − eΦ0 (r, t) + V (r) (13)

2m

We choose the Coulomb Gauge in which ∇ · A = 0 and Φ = 0, and then use

our gauge transformation equations along with the gauge function χ(r, t) =

A(t) · r. (If we approximate the atom by a point dipole, the spatial variation of

A becomes irrelevant.) The Hamiltonian now becomes,

P̂

Ĥ 0 (r, t) = + V (r) + er · E(t) (14)

2m

The quantity −er is the dipole moment, d, which is actually an operator, d̂.

Thus,

P̂

Ĥ 0 (r, t) = + V (r) − d̂ · E(t) (15)

2m

7

8 The Jaynes-Cummings Model

We now consider the interaction of a two-level atomic system (levels : |gi and

|ei) with a single-mode cavity field of the form,

1/2

~ω

Ê = e (â + aˆ+ ) sin(kz)

0 V

where e is the polarization vector oriented arbitarily.

The interaction Hamiltonian is,

ˆ + aˆ+ )

Ĥ (I) = −d̂ · E = dg(â (16)

1/2

where dˆ = d̂ · e and g = − ~ω0V

sin(kz).

The atomic transition operators are defined as,

σ̂+ = |eihg| , σ̂− = |gihe| (17)

and the inversion operator is defined to be,

σ̂3 = |eihe| − |gihg| (18)

Thus, the interaction Hamiltonian is,

Ĥ (I) = ~λ(σ̂+ + σ̂− )(â + aˆ+ ) (19)

where, λ = dg/~.

The zero of energy is defined to be at halfway between the excited and the

ground state of the atom. The free-atomic Hamiltonian may be written to be,

1 1

ĤA = (Ee − Eg )σ̂3 = ~ω0 σ̂3 (20)

2 2

where, Ee = −Eg = 12 ~ω0 . The free field Hamiltonian is,

where, the zero-point energy is dropped because it does not contribute to the

dynamics of the system. Thus, the total Hamiltonian for our system is,

Ĥ = ĤA + ĤF + Ĥ (I) (22)

Now, we apply the rotating wave approximation1 to drop out the terms that

do not conserve the energy. The Hamiltonian now takes the form,

1

Ĥ = ~ω0 σ̂3 + ~ωâ† â + ~λ(σ̂+ â + σ̂− â† ) (23)

2

The above Hamiltonian is called the Jayes-Cummings Hamiltonian.

1 When we integrate the time-dependent Schrodinger equation for the perturbative case we

get terms having denominators like ω0 + ω as compared with ω0 − ω. We neglect the term(s)

with relatively large denominator(s).

8

8.1 The Resonant Case

We consider the case of resonance, for which ω = ω0 . For the atom intially in

the excited state, we have the solution,

∞

X √

|ψg (t)i = −i Cn sin(λt n + 1)|n + 1i (25)

n=0

∞

X √

|ψe (t)i = Cn cos(λt n + 1)|ni (26)

n=0

difference in probabilities of the excited and ground state.

= hψe (t)|ψe (t)i − hψg (t)|ψg (t)i

∞ (27)

X √

= |Cn |2 cos(2λt n + 1)

n=0

2

αn

For the coherent state, Cn = e−|α| /2

(n!)1/2

and the inversion is,

∞

X n̄n √

W (t) = e−n̄ cos(2λt n + 1) (28)

n=0

n!

√

We define the Rabi Frequency to be, Ω(n̄) = 2λ n + 1.

A plot of W (t) versus scaled time λt reveals that the oscillations initially

dampen out. The oscillations again start to revive after a period of quietness.

Actually the energy here is shared between a Fermionic oscillator - which consists

of the atom(s) - and a Bosonic oscillator - the Photons. These are coupled

oscillators like the coupled oscillations we encounter in classical mechanics. The

amplitude of oscillation for the Fermionic oscillator is large when it has more

energy than the Bosonic oscillator. Likewise, the energy and therefore, the

amplitude decreases when the Bosonic Oscillator picks up greater energy than

the Fermionic oscillator.

For a sufficiently intense field and short enough times (t << |α|/λ), W (t)

can be shown to reduce to,

1 1 2 2

W (t) = + cos(2|α|λt)e−λ t (29)

2 2

Hence, the Rabi oscillations are damped with a Gaussian envelope independent

of the photon number n̄ = |α|2 , a result sometimes called the ”Cummings

9

WHtL

1.0

0.5

T

10 20 30 40 50

-0.5

Figure 4: Plot of W (t) versus time for the resonant case with n̄ = 5.

frequencies. For still longer times, the system exhibits a series of revivals and

collapses. The mathematical reason behind revivals being the discreteness of

n in the sum of W (t) which cause oscillations to rephase. Any spread in field

strengths - here, due the uncertainty of the amplitude of coherent states - will

dephase Rabi oscillations, but the revivals are entirely due to the quantum

nature of the field (such collapse and revivals do not occur when the field is

treated classically), so that the atomic evolution is determined by the individual

field quanta.

Consider the Jaynes-Cummings Hamiltonian,

1

Ĥ = ~ω0 σ̂3 + ~ωâ† â + ~λ(σ̂+ â + σ̂− â† ) (30)

2

we won’t assume the resonance condition now.

The interaction potential causes transitions as those below,

|ei|ni ↔ |gi|n + 1i

and,

|ei|n − 1i ↔ |gi|ni

The product states, as above, are states of unperturbed atom and field. These

are referred to as ”bare” states of the Jaynes-Cummings model. We define them

as, |ψ1n i = |ei|ni and |ψ2n i = |gi|n + 1i.

10

Now, for a given n, the energy eigenvalues (of the Hamiltonian) are :

1 1

E± = (n + )~ω ± ~Ωn (∆) (31)

2 2

where for ∆ = ω0 − ω,

|n, −i = − sin(Φn /2)|ψ1n i + cos(Φn /2)|ψ2n i

where, √

−1 2λt n + 1 −1 Ωn (0)

Φn = tan = tan (33)

∆ ∆

The states |n, ±i are called the ”dressed” states of the Jaynes-Cummings

Hamiltonian. The bare states of energies E1n = ~(ω0 /2 + nω) and E2n =

~[−ω0 /2 + (n + 1)ω] are split further owing to interaction. This is a kind of

Stark shift.

The state of the system is obtained in terms of the dressed states is,

X

|ψ(t)i = Cn [cos(Φn /2)|n, +ie−iE+ (n)t − sin(Φn /2)|n, −ie−iE−(n)t ] (34)

n

evaluated to be,

∞

X

2 2 2 2 Ωn (∆)t

W (t) == |Cn | [1 − 8c s sin ] (35)

n=0

2

where,

c = cos(Φn /2)

s = sin(Φn /2)

2 n

α

For the coherent state, Cn = e−|α| /2 (n!) 1/2 . The value of W (t) therefore may be

computed for various values of the strength of coupling λ and different resonant

modes of the cavity ω, and the consequences may be viewed.

The above can be done using a computer program. The parameters like the

strength of coupling λ, the resonant frequency of the cavity ω are varied and

the following plots are obtained.

The Jaynes-Cummings model thus explains interesting quantum features

of the problem of atom-field interaction. The remarkable fact is that these

have recently started to be observed experimentally in cavity QED experiments.

These features also lead to a number of applications. The common ones being,

the production of low-threshold lasers and the development of single-photon

phase gates for quantum computation.

11

WHtL

1.0

0.5

T

10 20 30 40 50

-0.5

Figure 5: Plot of W (t) versus T (scaled time) for the off-resonant case compared

with the resonant case with n̄ = 5. Note that when we stay away from resonance

there is a tendency of the atom(s) to remain in the excited state, as it was there

initially

WHtL

1.0

0.5

T

10 20 30 40 50

-0.5

Figure 6: Plot of W (t) versus T (scaled time) for the case in which coupling is

half compared with the case in which the coupling strength is unity (in appro-

priate units) with n̄ = 5. Note that when the coupling is less the entire process

of oscillations slow down as anticipated. Thus, λ serves as a scaling factor here.

12

WHtL

1.0

0.5

T

10 20 30 40 50

-0.5

Figure 7: Plot of W (t) versus T (scaled time) for the case in which coupling

is zero compared with the case in which the coupling strength is unity (in

appropriate units) with n̄ = 5. The states |gi and |ei are orthogonal states of

the two-level atomic system. As the system was initially in the excited state, it

will remain in that state until the system is disturbed. Here, λ = 0 and therefore

the Fermionic Oscillator exists independent of the Bosonic Photon Field.

WHtL

1.0

0.5

T

10 20 30 40 50

-0.5

-1.0

Figure 8: Plot of W (t) versus T (scaled time) for the case in which coupling is

unity but n̄ = 0. Physically, this is case of spontaneous emission. Even in the

absence of an electric field but in presence of coupling, Rabi Oscillations occur.

Usually we have a continuous spectrum of vacuum fluctuations that attempt to

make an excited atom Rabi flop. In this case there are no collapse and revivals.

The energy (in form of EM waves) that comes out of the two-level atom is put

back by virtue of the coupling. This increases the population of the excited

state once again. This process continues over and over again giving rise to the

oscillations. However, the well-known exponential decay is absent here because

we only considered a single mode of the electromagnetic field.

13

9 Acknowledgements

I express my heartfelt gratitude to Prof. Joseph Samuel, who has helped me

throughout the course of this project. I also acknowledge the guidance given

by Prof. Supurna Sinha. I thank Raman Research Institute, Bangalore for

providing me the opportunity to do this work. Finally, I am grateful to Wolfram

Research for their software, Mathematica v6, without which I wouldn’t have

been able to produce the graphs for this report.

10 References

1. Eberly, J.H., N.B. Narozhny, and J.J. Sanchez-Mondragon (1980), Phys.

Rev. Lett. 44, 1323.

2. Fox, M. (2002), Quantum Optics - An Introduction

3. Glauber, R.J. (1963), Phys. Rev. 130

4. Klauder, J.R. and E.C.G. Sudarshan (1968), Fundamentals of Quantum

Optics

5. Lee and Knight. Introductory Quantum Optics

6. Li and Peng. Modern Quantum Optics

7. Loudon, R. (2000) The Quantum Theory Of Light

8. Meystre, P. and Sargent, M. (2007), Elements of Quantum Optics

9. Schiff, L. (1949), Quantum Mechanics

14

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