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Quantum theory of spontaneous and stimulated emission of surface plasmons

Abstract : We introduce a quantization scheme that can be applied to surface waves propagating along a plane interface. An important result is the derivation of the energy of the surface wave for dispersive nonlossy media without invoking any specific model for the dielectric constant. Working in Coulomb’s gauge, we use a modal representation of the fields. Each mode can be associated with a quantum harmonic oscillator. We have applied the formalism to derive quantum mechanically the spontaneous emission rate of surface plasmon by a twolevel system. The result is in very good agreement with Green’s tensor approach in the nonlossy case. Green’s approach allows also to account for losses, so that the limitations of a quantum approach of surface plasmons are clearly defined. Finally, the issue of stimulated versus spontaneous emission has been addressed. Because of the increasing density of states near the asymptote of the dispersion relation, it is quantitatively shown that the stimulated emission probability is too small to obtain gain in this frequency region.
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Alexandre Archambault, François Marquier, Jean-Jacques Greffet, Christophe Arnold. Quantum theory of spontaneous and stimulated emission of surface plasmons. Physical Review B: Condensed Matter and Materials Physics, American Physical Society, 2010, 82, pp.035411. ⟨10.1103/PhysRevB.82.035411⟩. ⟨hal-00546214⟩

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