Theory of a microscopic maser

P. Filipowicz, J. Javanainen, Pierre Meystre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

483 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We present the theory of a truly microscopic maser consisting of a single-mode high-Q resonator in which a monoenergetic beam of excited two-level atoms is injected at such a low flux that at most one atom at a time is present inside the cavity. Both a microscopic theory and a heuristic Fokker-Planck approach are presented. We show that the micromaser exhibits a number of novel features that are averaged out in usual masers and lasers. First, the field is in general sub-Poissonian, which reflects the quantization of both the field and its sources. Second, the onset of maser oscillations may be followed by a succession of abrupt transitions in the state of the field. Finally, as the atomic flux through the resonator is increased, the maser threshold acquires characteristics of a continuous phase transition, whereas the subsequent changes in the field distribution become analogous to first-order phase transitions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3077-3087
Number of pages11
JournalPhysical Review A
Volume34
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1986

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masers
resonators
atoms
Q factors
oscillations
cavities
thresholds
lasers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics

Cite this

Theory of a microscopic maser. / Filipowicz, P.; Javanainen, J.; Meystre, Pierre.

In: Physical Review A, Vol. 34, No. 4, 1986, p. 3077-3087.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Filipowicz, P, Javanainen, J & Meystre, P 1986, 'Theory of a microscopic maser', Physical Review A, vol. 34, no. 4, pp. 3077-3087. https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevA.34.3077
Filipowicz, P. ; Javanainen, J. ; Meystre, Pierre. / Theory of a microscopic maser. In: Physical Review A. 1986 ; Vol. 34, No. 4. pp. 3077-3087.
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