The vacuum field’s role in the radiative properties of two-level atoms located externally to a phase-conjugate mirror (PCM) is investigated. The basic result of Gaeta and Boyd [ Phys. Rev. Lett. 60, 2618 ( 1988)], that the PCM emits an average of R (where R is reflectivity) noise photons per mode of the radiation field, is modified. Stimulated emission of the combined PCM–atom system takes place when the atom is in its ground state; this emission is caused by a scattering–conjugation process of virtual photons. The expression for the power emitted by a system of N (N > 1) two-level atoms also contains terms that are the expectation values of products of two atomic raising or lowering operators in addition to the usual superradiant terms. The case N = 2 is solved exactly in the limit of a vanishing separation-to-wavelength ratio. The expectation values of individual and pair-product operators are derived from the Heisenberg equations of motion, and the solutions are classified according to the value of an integral of motion. When R < 1, the time evolution is characterized by four real-time constants, of which two are a complex-conjugate pair for R > 1, indicating relaxation by damped oscillations.
© 1992 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: July 23, 1990
Revised Manuscript: July 16, 1991
Published: February 1, 1992
Erik J. Bochove, "Quantum theory of phase-conjugate mirrors," J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 9, 266-280 (1992)