We show that treating the black-body radiation field as a heat bath enables one to utilize powerful techniques from the realm of stochastic physics (such as the fluctuation dissipation theorem and the related radiation damping) to treat problems that could not be treated rigorously by conventional methods. We illustrate our remarks by discussing specifically the effect of temperature on atomic spectral lines, and the solution to the problem of runaway solutions in the equation of motion of a radiating electron. We also present brief discussions relating to anomalous diffusion and wave-packet spreading in a radiation field and the influence of quantum effects on the laws of thermodynamics. © 2009 NRC Canada.
Publication Source (Journal or Book title)
Canadian Journal of Physics
O'Connell, R. (2009). Stochastic methods in atomic systems and QED. Canadian Journal of Physics, 87 (1), 45-48. https://doi.org/10.1139/P08-078