Operator ordering in quantum radiative processes
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In this work we reexamine quantum electrodynamics of atomic electrons in the Coulomb gauge in the dipole approximation and calculate the shift of atomic energy levels in the context of Dalibard, Dupont-Roc and Cohen-Tannoudji formalism by considering the variation rates of physical observable. We then analyze the physical interpretation of the ordering of operators in the dipole approximation interaction Hamiltonian in terms of field fluctuations and self-reaction of atomic electrons, discussing the arbitrariness in the statistical functions in second-order bound-state perturbation theory. (C) 2002 Elsevier B.V. B.V. All rights reserved.