By coherent stimulated emission I am referring to any process analogous to stimulated emission in lasers, where one particle interacts with an excited energy state, which leads to a second photon being emitted with the same phase, frequency, and direction as the first. Are there in particles other then photons for which this can happen?

I am curious for what particles it is even theoretically possible. I am not as concerned with whether it has been experimentally confirmed.

I remember reading that it is essential that the particle is a boson which makes some sense, is this true? Could it possibly work for composite bosons like mesons and He-4? Which elementary bosons other than photons could undergo stimulated emission?

  • $\begingroup$ Traps can be coherent sources of atoms when there is a Bose condensate. These are sometines called atom lasers. $\endgroup$
    – user137289
    Jan 25, 2018 at 8:19

2 Answers 2


There are "atom lasers", coherent states of propagating atoms that can be emitted from Einstein-Bose condensates. One can quibble about whether it is a laser since the 'L' is for light. In any case, it is experimentally demonstrated. While I have not seen any papers on alpha particles, helium atoms have been used.

Coherent stimulated emission seems to require bosons since it needs a large population inversion: fermions will not crowd into the same energy level, and hence decay from a population inversion will not produce coherence. The atom laser works because the BEC atoms become bosonic.

Are there any other bosons that could lase? I have a feeling it is unlikely to be practical for elementary bosons: W and Z bosons interact weakly (requiring a very dense medium) and quickly decay, gluons are colour confined, gravitons (beside being hypothetical) interact very weakly with matter. Maybe some mesons may be possible candidates inside the right kind of nuclear matter?


I remember way back , when proton decay was considered seriously ,

In particle physics, proton decay is a hypothetical form of radioactive decay in which the proton decays into lighter subatomic particles, such as a neutral pion and a positron.The proton decay hypothesis was first formulated by Andrei Sakharov in 1967. There is currently no experimental evidence that proton decay occurs.

The time frame is similar to the building of the first laser which was an exciting development bringing theory into practice:

The first laser was built in 1960 by Theodore H. Maiman at Hughes Research Laboratories, based on theoretical work by Charles Hard Townes and Arthur Leonard Schawlow.

I was suddenly struck by thinking of the whole world sitting on a population inverted quantum state.

Here is a table of the possible decay modes:


What if a single proton decay started the stimulated emission process? A charged meson lives long enough to meet other protons .

At the time, discussing with a theoretician, I was satisfied that the small value of the Heisenberg constant saves us from sitting on a bomb :). ( or being the proof that proton does not decay) .

Searching I found this article:

The feasibility of obtaining stimulated emission of both zero and finite mass particles from nuclei is considered, and the limitations imposed on the relevant nuclear parameters determined.

Note the date , 1974, close to the peak interest on the lasing process at the time. Unfortunately one needs a library or to pay for it in order to read the details.

You ask:

Could it possibly work for composite bosons like mesons and He-4? Which elementary bosons other than photons could undergo stimulated emission?

"Undergo" is the wrong verb. "induce" is what you mean. It is the states with the inverted population that emit/undergo-stimulated-emission.

  • $\begingroup$ As a side note, if the nuclear lasing process has been examined in actual research, ( the search did not bring out recent papers,) it will be highly classified because the energies are those of an atomic bomb. $\endgroup$
    – anna v
    Jan 25, 2018 at 5:53
  • $\begingroup$ "induce" really isn't the right word either though, it would only refer to the first particle. "undergo seemed sufficiently generic to capture both, "induce" and "emitted by". But I think word choice there hardly matters for the understanding of the question. $\endgroup$
    – Lex
    Jan 25, 2018 at 6:03
  • $\begingroup$ At first I thought you wanted the mesons as the lasing substrate , difference between active and passive grammar, until i noticed you included the photon in the list $\endgroup$
    – anna v
    Jan 25, 2018 at 7:54
  • $\begingroup$ This is about stimulated emission rather than coherent stimulated emission. From a "blowing up matter" perspective it might not matter, but it is not the original question. However, under what conditions chain reactions make matter macroscopically metastable in an interesting one. $\endgroup$ Jan 25, 2018 at 13:14
  • $\begingroup$ @AndersSandberg Had the numbers matched for proton decay I do not think that stimulated emission would not be coherent. The nuclear link I have not been able to find free so as to judge it. $\endgroup$
    – anna v
    Jan 25, 2018 at 16:32

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.