It is shown that the forced quantum oscillator subject to a transient classical force is easily described in terms of the “coherent states”recently found useful in the description of light from optical masers. The natural role these states play in understanding the notions of the phase of a quantum oscillator and the transition to the classical limit is also explained. Very simple derivations of the state vectors, energy transfer, and various transition probabilities are given.

This content is only available via PDF.
AAPT members receive access to the American Journal of Physics and The Physics Teacher as a member benefit. To learn more about this member benefit and becoming an AAPT member, visit the Joining AAPT page.