We derive the macroscopic electromagnetic-field and medium operators for a linear dispersive medium with a microscopic model. As an alternative to the previous treatments in the literature, we show that the canonical momentum for the macroscopic field can be chosen to be -ε0Ê instead of -D̂ with the standard minimal-coupling Hamiltonian. We find that, despite the change in the field operator normalization constants, the equal-time commutators among the macroscopic electric-field, magnetic-field, and medium operators have the same values as their microscopic counterparts under a coarse-grained approximation. This preservation of the equal-time commutator is important from a fundamental standpoint, such as the preservation of micro-causality for macroscopic quantities. The existence of more than one normal frequency mode at each k vector in a realistic causal-response medium is shown to be responsible for the commutator preservation. The process of macroscopic averaging is discussed in our derivation. The macroscopic field operators we derive are valid for a wide range of frequencies below, above, and around resonances. Our derivation covers the lossless, slightly lossy, and dispersionless as well as dispersive regimes of the medium. The local-field correction is also included in the formalism by inclusion of dipole-dipole interactions. Comparisons are made with other derivations of the macroscopic field operators. Using our theory, we discuss the questions of field propagation across a dielectric boundary and the decay rate of an atom embedded in a dielectric medium. We also discuss the question of squeezing in a linear dielectric medium and the extension of our theory to the case of a nonuniform medium.
© 1993 Optical Society of America
Seng-Tiong Ho and Prem Kumar, "Quantum optics in a dielectric: macroscopic electromagnetic-field and medium operators for a linear dispersive lossy medium—a microscopic derivation of the operators and their commutation relation," J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 10, 1620-1636 (1993)