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Consider a two-level energy gap with electronic energy states $E_1$ & $E_2$ and associated population densities $n_1$ and $n_2$ with $E_2>E_1$.

In the derivation of the Einstein coefficients for Absorption, Spontaneous Emission and Stimulated Emission, textbooks/notes quite often make statements like the transition from $E_2$ to $E_1$ only depends on population density $n_2$. As an example, for the case of spontaneous decay, this clearly is just not true as there is a limit to the number of electrons occupying $E_1$ .

My question then is: how is this assumption justified? and/or how is the maximum value of $n_1$ taken into account in general LASER theory?

All comments welcome.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

For each excited state with $E_2$ there is a vacant ground state, isn't there? The presence or absence of the other ground states does not influence transitions.

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(Slaps forehead) - Thanks very much! –  TCTopCat Apr 21 '12 at 19:20
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