A semiclassical model is presented for characterizing the linear response of elementary quantum-optical systems involving cavities, optical fibers, and atoms. Formulating the transmission and reflection spectra using a scattering-wave (transfer-matrix) approach, the calculations become easily scalable. To demonstrate how useful this method is, we consider the example of a simple quantum network, i.e., two cavity-QED systems connected via an optical fiber. Differences between our quasiexact transfer-matrix approach and a single-mode, linearized quantum-optical model are demonstrated for parameters relevant to recent experiments with coupled nanofiber-cavity-QED systems.
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