Linear polarizabilities of two- and three-level atoms

P.W. Milonni, Rodney Loudon, P.R. Berman, S.M. Barnett

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20 Citations (Scopus)


Different expressions for the linear polarizability of a two-level atom with radiative corrections have been derived recently. We show that an expression said to differ from that obtained by the present authors is in fact consistent with it. The same-sign and opposite-sign prescriptions for linewidths are revisited with respect to the polarizability, the scattering amplitude, and the optical theorem. Both prescriptions represent approximations to more general expressions in the two-level case, and neither is correct for transitions between excited atomic states, as we demonstrate by calculating the linear polarizability of a three-level atom.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)043835
JournalPhysical Review A
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2008


  • optical susceptibility
  • atomic moments
  • line shape
  • line width
  • photon-atom interactions
  • linear polarizability
  • radiative correction

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