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In quantum optics, the interaction between light and atoms is described by a Hamiltonian of the formd.Ewheredis the dipole moment of the atom. The picture given is basically that this is a vector and we take the the dot product with this and the electric field vector (whose direction comes from the polarization direction). I don't understand why the atom has this asymmetry.

1) If the atom is spherically symmetric, how do we get this dipole pointing in one specific direction? Can an experimentalist put an atom with its dipole pointing in a specific way?

2) If we look at spontaneous emission, the rate is given by the Einstein A coefficient which is reproduced using quantum optics. It is

[tex]

\Gamma=\frac{\omega^{2}d^{2}}{3\pi\epsilon_{0} \hbar c^{3}}

[/tex]

Is this sponteanous emission spatially isotropic or is there more radiation in some directions compared to others?

I feel that I may have some misconceptions regarding the whole thing. Please do correct me if I do. Thank you :)

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# Understanding Atomic Dipoles and Spontaneous Emission

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