Stochastic theory of relaxation and collisional broadening of spectral line shapes
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A complete stochastic theory of relaxation is developed in terms of a homogeneous equation for the averaged density matrix of a system immersed in a thermal bath. This theory is then used as the basis of a new stochastic approach to the phenomenon of collisional broadening of spectral line shapes. Single photon and multiphoton processes are studied. The features of a line shape are linked by simple expressions to the statistical properties of a stochastic hermitian Hamiltonian. The ordinary line shape predicted by Kubo's approach is generalized. The present approach predicts broadening as well as asymmetry and shift. A representation of line shapes in multiphoton processes by diagrams is also developed.