Fermi’s golden rule (FGR) serves as the basis for many expressions of spectroscopic observables and quantum transition rates. The utility of FGR has been demonstrated through decades of experimental confirmation. However, there still remain important cases where the evaluation of a FGR rate is ambiguous or ill-defined. Examples are cases where the rate has divergent terms due to the sparsity in the density of final states or time dependent fluctuations of system Hamiltonians. Strictly speaking, assumptions of FGR are no longer valid for such cases. However, it is still possible to define modified FGR rate expressions that are useful as effective rates. The resulting modified FGR rate expressions resolve a long standing ambiguity often encountered in using FGR and offer more reliable ways to model general rate processes. Simple model calculations illustrate the utility and implications of new rate expressions.
The case where is periodic in time with angular frequency ω can be included here, within the rotating wave approximation, by replacing Ef − Ei with Ef − Ei ± ℏω, which leads to the standard FGR expressions for spectroscopic transitions.