Spontaneously Emitting Atom in Front of a Two-Slit Interferometer

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A fully quantum-mechanical description of the spontaneous emission from an excited two-level atom placed in front of a two-slit interferometer is given. Global modes of the electromagnetic field in a two slit system are derived within the Kirchhoff–Huygens diffraction approximation, serving as a base for the field quantization. The standard Fermi's golden rule, supplemented by a factor coming from the nontrivial mode structure caused by the presence of the two-slit interferometer, is used to show that interference results from the position-dependent coupling between the atom and different field modes of the system.

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