We consider the time-dependent resonance interaction energy between two identical atoms, one in the ground state and the other in an excited state, and interacting with the vacuum electromagnetic field, during a nonequilibrium situation such as the dynamical atomic self-dressing process. We suppose the two atoms prepared in a correlated, symmetric or antisymmetric, state. Since the atoms start from a nonequilibrium conditions, their interaction energy is time dependent. We obtain, at second order in the atom-field coupling, an analytic expression for the time-dependent resonance interaction energy between the atoms. We show that this interaction vanishes when the two atoms are outside the light cone of each other, in agreement with relativistic causality, while it instantaneously settles to its stationary value after time t=R/c (R being the interatomic distance), as obtained in a time-independent approach. We also investigate the time-dependent electric energy density in the space around the two correlated atoms, in both cases of antisymmetric (subradiant) and symmetric (super-radiant) states, during the dressing process of our two-atom system. We show that the field energy density vanishes in points outside the light cone of both atoms, thus preserving relativistic causality. On the other hand, inside the light cone of both atoms, the energy density instantaneously settles to its stationary value. Specifically, for points at equal distance from the two atoms, we find that it vanishes if the two atoms are prepared in the antisymmetric (subradiant) state, while it is enhanced, with respect to the case of atoms in a factorized state, in the symmetric (super-radiant) state. The physical meaning of these results is discussed in detail in terms of interference effects of the field emitted by the two atoms.
|Numero di pagine||10|
|Rivista||Physical Review A|
|Stato di pubblicazione||Published - 2018|
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