Interaction of Light with Matter
DOI link for Interaction of Light with Matter
Interaction of Light with Matter book
“Why is the sky blue?” or “why are clouds white?” are examples of basic questions that always intrigued the mind of young, and not-so-young, students before their exposure to the fundamentals of light–matter interaction, a phenomenon that occurs anytime and anywhere in our universe and constitutes the main thrust in this chapter. It starts by highlighting the basic aspects of absorption and spontaneous and stimulated emission, described (in terms of quantum mechanics) by using Einstein coefficients and transition moments; further along, the (classical) macroscopic connection with the Beer–Lambert law is derived. The journey continues by visiting elastic scattering and its two modalities, Rayleigh and Mie scattering, depending on the scattering particle size. In the final step, inelastic Brillouin and Raman scattering are discussed, placing emphasis on the laser-spectroscopic techniques underlying these types of photon–matter interactions. The chapter ends with a brief description how prehistoric humans already knew how to prepare colors for paintings (as exemplified in the Altamira cave in Cantabria, Spain); and a short exposé into state-of-the-art single-molecule spectroscopy using a single photon. This thread of spanning an arc between (historical) breakthroughs and cutting-edge research will be common to all chapters of the book.