Abstract

We consider the fully quantum-mechanical Hamiltonian for the interaction of light with bound electrons. There are, roughly speaking, two different viewpoints relating the minimal-coupling and electric-dipole forms of the Hamiltonian. We attempt to clarify the situation by showing that either viewpoint is justified. As an example we discuss the Maxwell–Bloch equations and show that the usual derivation of these equations is somewhat misleading. In addition, we find that the Maxwell–Bloch equations appearing in standard texts are inconsistent.

© 1984 Optical Society of America

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