Effects of nonuniform reflective boundaries and line competition on radiation trapping

T. M. Colbert, B. L. Wexler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


We develop a radiation diffusion equation for an infinite slab geometry where the slab may have different reflectivities on either surface, and for conditions where complete frequency redistribution is valid. Additionally we consider the effect of two competing trapped transitions. Specifically we consider the emission from the thallium 7 2S1/2 state to either the 6 2P3/2 (metastable state) at 535 nm or 6 2P1/2 (ground state) at 378 nm. High densities of the long-lived metastable level can be produced in a number of ways. The escape factors (which are simply related to the decay rates) and excited-atom spatial profiles are calculated for a variety of conditions for the first several natural modes of the system. The spatial modes for this system are asymmetric. The asymmetry can vary dramatically with only small changes in either of the two lower-state densities. The correct description of the spatial modes is critical in order to determine the overall excited-atom profile accurately. For the simpler systems (i.e., a single transition and nonreflective boundaries) usually considered the mode profiles do not change appreciably as the optical depth is changed (given conditions of high optical depth and a single-line broadening mechanism). The fundamental mode decay rate is shown for a fixed metastable-state density as a function of the ground-state density. The dependence of the fundamental mode escape factor for the first resonance transition on the optical depth (or ground-state density) is in general more complicated than for the case of a single trapped transition. For conditions considered here a simple power rule cannot be used to scale the decay rates as a function of line-center optical depth. Also shown is the fundamental mode escape factor as a function of buffer gas pressure for fixed ground- and metastable-state densities. The calculations presented here allow us to model the narrow-bandwidth thallium fluorescence filter. This filter will be discussed in more detail in a separate paper. A thorough review of atomic resonance filters was done by Gelbwachs [IEEE J. Quantum Electron. 24, 1266 (1988)]. We have considered a much broader range of ground- and metastable-state densities than would be practical for efficient filter operation. This is done to illustrate several aspects of the radiation trapping processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2156-2168
Number of pages13
JournalPhysical Review A
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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