In the previous section, we derived the
same formulas for matrix elements
that we had earlier used to
study decays of Hydrogen atom states with no applied EM field, that is zero photons in the initial state.
With the inclusion of the phase space integral over final states this became
is typically small for atomic transitions
Note that we have take the full binding energy as the energy difference between states so almost all transitions
smaller than this estimate.
an excellent parameter in which to expand decay rate formulas.
The approximation that
is a very good one and is called the
electric dipole or E1 approximation.
derived the E1 selection rules.
The general E1 decay result depends on photon direction and polarization.
If information about angular distributions or polarization is needed, it can be pried out of this formula.
Summing over polarization and integrating over photon direction, we get a simpler formula that is quite useful
to compute the decay rate from one initial atomic state to one final atomic state.
is the matrix element of the coordinate vector between final and initial states.
For single electron atoms, we can sum over the final states with different
and get a formula only requires us to do a radial integral.
The decay rate does not depend on the
of the initial state.