Date: May 1987
Creator: Golshan, Shahram Mohammad-Mehdi
Description: A pair of nonidentical two-level atoms, separated by a fixed distance R, interact through photon exchange. The system is described by a state vector which is assumed to be a superposition of four "essential states": (1) the first atom is excited, the second one is in the ground state, and no photon is present, (2) the first atom is in its ground state, the second one is excited, and no photon is present, (3) both atoms are in their ground states and a photon is present, and (4) both atoms are excited and a photon is also present. The system is initially in state (1). The probabilities of each atom being excited are calculated for both the minimally-coupled interaction and the multipolar interaction in the electric dipole approximation. For the minimally-coupled interaction Hamiltonian, the second atom has a probability of being instantaneously excited, so the interaction is not retarded. For the multipolar interaction Hamiltonian, the second atom is not excited before the retardation time, which agrees with special relativity. For the minimally-coupled interaction the nonphysical result occurs because the unperturbed Hamiltonian is not the energy operator in the Coulomb gauge. For the multipolar Hamiltonian in the electric dipole approximation the ...
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