Optical emission from emitters strongly interacting among themselves and also with other polarizable matter in close proximity has been approximated by emission from independent emitters. This is primarily due to our inability to evaluate the self-energy matrices and radiative properties of the collective eigenstates of emitters in heterogeneous ensembles. A method to evaluate self-energy matrices that is not limited by the geometry and material composition is presented to understand and exploit such collective excitations. Numerical evaluations using this method are used to highlight the significant differences between independent and the collective modes of emission in nanoscale heterostructures. A set of Lorentz emitters and other polarizable entities is used to represent the coupled system of a generalized geometry in a volume integral approach. Closed form relations between the Green tensors of entity pairs in free space and their correspondents in a heterostructure are derived concisely. This is made possible for general geometries because the global matrices consisting of all free-space Green dyads are subject to conservation laws. The self-energy matrix can then be assembled using the evaluated Green tensors of the heterostructure, but a decomposition of its components into their radiative and nonradiative decay contributions is nontrivial. The relations to compute the observables of the eigenstates (such as quantum efficiency, power/energy of emission, radiative and nonradiative decay rates) are presented. A note on extension of this method to collective excitations, which also includes strong interactions with a surface in the near-field, is added.
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