Physical Review A

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Physical Review A: Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics  
Former names
Physical Review, Physical Review A, General Physics
Abbreviated title (ISO 4)
Phys. Rev. A At. Mol. Opt. Phys.
Discipline Atomic, molecular and optical physics
Language English
Edited by Gordon W. F. Drake
Publication details
American Physical Society (United States)
Publication history
Frequency Monthly
ISSN 1050-2947 (print)
1094-1622 (web)
LCCN 90656533
OCLC no. 21266025

Physical Review A: Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics is a peer-reviewed scientific journal that is published twelve times per year by the American Physical Society in print, online, and CD formats. The main focus of interest is atomic, molecular and optical physics. The editor-in-chief is Gordon W. F. Drake (University of Windsor).[1]


Fundamental topics related to atomic, molecular and optical physics are published in this journal. Quantum optics, and quantum mechanics, including quantum information theory are such fundamental subjects. Furthermore, matter waves, including Bose–Einstein condensate are within the journal's scope.

Atomic and molecular structure, dynamics, and processes occurring in external fields, are part of its collections. Hence, articles on atomic and molecular collisions and interactions as these occur in surface areas and within solids are included. In addition, atom clusters is an area of interest, and this includes fullerenes.[1]

New sections have been introduced which are experiencing notable expansion. These sections are quantum communication, computation, cryptography, and matter waves.[1]

Former names[edit]

This journal began as " Physical Review" in 1893. In 1913 the American Physical Society took over Physical Review. In 1970, the journal was subdivided into Physical Review A, B, C, and D. At that time section A was newly named, Physical Review A: General Physics. From 1990 until 1993 a process was started to split this journal into two. Hence, in 1993, it changed in name to its current title. As an aside, in January 2007, the section in Physical Review E which published works on classical optics was transferred to Physical Review A. This action unified the classical and quantum parts of optics into a single journal.[2][3]

Historical background[edit]

In 1970, when Physical Review A: General Physics was first issued, this field appeared to lack focus. Published papers were not easily classified according to a physics "sub-field" such as condensed matter physics, nuclear physics, or elementary particles and fields. However, the journal published papers concerning laser research, reporting advancements on various technologies in the areas of communications, transportation, entertainment, medical diagnostics, manufacturing, and various other sectors.[3]

Beginning in 1978 the journal established its reputation, by attracting many papers of key importance. In particular, early work on laser spectroscopy by many authors published in the journal led to the Nobel Prize for Arthur L. Schawlow and Nicolaas Bloembergen in 1981.[3]

Over the years, journal coverage followed the continuing development of the laser, and its integration into society for laboratory, industrial, and commercial applications. Advancements and integration of the laser also created a renewed interest in basic atomic and molecular physics. At the same time, pure research followed an unforeseen, and unpredictable path for 50 years of revolutionary advances. Papers reporting research and advances were published in "Physical Review A: General Physics". Hence, the growth of this field (lasers) is documented in this journal.[3]

Beginning in 1992, significant numbers of papers were submitted regarding high intensity and short pulsed lasers, along with commensurate applications. Meanwhile, in 1993 Physical Review A was split, and reconstituted as "Physical Review A: Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics" and "Physical Review E: Statistical Physics, Plasmas, Fluids, and Related Interdisciplinary Topics ". The changes took place over three years from 1990 to 1993.[3]

Over the same time period, applications of lasers for the cooling and trapping of atoms were being developed. This led to Nobel Prizes for Steven Chu, Claude Cohen-Tannoudji, and William D. Phillips in 1997. Physical Review A published many of their research papers throughout this time period.[3]

Rapid communications section[edit]

Physical Review A Rapid Communications was introduced in 1981 to provide a venue for quick publication of high-impact articles similar to Physical Review Letters, but for a more specialized audience. As of May 1, 2012, the editors have made more explicit the requirement for significance in Rapid articles.[4] In addition, as of March 8, 2010, the editors have placed newly published Rapid Communications articles on rotation as highlights on the Physical Review A website, so as to give them more visibility.[5]

Abstracting, indexing and impact factor[edit]

According to the 2012 Journal Citation Reports, the journal has an impact factor of 3.042. In addition, it is indexed in the following bibliographical databases:[6][7][8][9]


  1. ^ a b c "Home page". American Physical Society. July 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-13. 
  2. ^ "About the Physical Review Journals". American Physical Society. July 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-13. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Drake, Gordon W. F. (July 1, 2010). "Editorial: 40th Anniversary of Physical Review A". American Physical Society. Retrieved 2010-07-13. 
  4. ^ "Renewed Standards for Rapid Communications in Physical Review A". APS. Retrieved 2012-12-20. 
  5. ^ "Highlighting PRA Rapid Communications". APS. Retrieved 2012-12-20. 
  6. ^ "About Physical Review A". APS. July 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-13. 
  7. ^ "Physical Review A: Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics". Chemical Abstracts Service Source Index (CASSI) (Displaying Record for Publication). American Chemical Society. July 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-29. 
  8. ^ "Mater Journal List search". database listings. Thomson Reuters. July 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-29. 
  9. ^ "Physical Review A: Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics". Bibliographic information for this journal. Library of Congress. January 2009. Retrieved 2010-07-29.