Efficient computation of spontaneous emission dynamics in arbitrary photonic structures

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Defining a quantum mechanical wavefunction for photons is one of the remaining open problems in quantum physics. Thus quantum states of light are usually treated within the realm of second quantization. Consequently, spontaneous emission(SE) in arbitrary photonic media is often described by Fock space Hamiltonians. Here, we present a real space formulation of the SE process that can capture the physics of the problem accurately under different coupling conditions. Starting from first principles, we map the unitary evolution of a dressed two-level quantum emitter onto the problem of electromagnetic radiation from a self-interacting complex harmonic oscillator. Our formalism naturally leads to an efficient computational scheme of SE dynamics using finite difference time domain method without the need for calculating the photonic eigenmodes of the surrounding environment. In contrast to earlier investigations, our computational framework provides a unified numerical treatment for both weak and strong coupling regimes alike. We illustrate the versatility of our scheme by considering several different examples.

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© 2015 IOP Publishing Ltd. Publisher's version of record: http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/2040-8978/17/12/125203

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Journal of Optics