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Linear polarizabilities of two- and three-level atoms

Milonni, P.W. and Loudon, Rodney and Berman, P.R. and Barnett, S.M. (2008) Linear polarizabilities of two- and three-level atoms. Physical Review A, 77 (4). 043835. ISSN 1094-1622

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Different expressions for the linear polarizability of a two-level atom with radiative corrections have been derived recently. We show that an expression said to differ from that obtained by the present authors is in fact consistent with it. The same-sign and opposite-sign prescriptions for linewidths are revisited with respect to the polarizability, the scattering amplitude, and the optical theorem. Both prescriptions represent approximations to more general expressions in the two-level case, and neither is correct for transitions between excited atomic states, as we demonstrate by calculating the linear polarizability of a three-level atom.