Pump-beam-instability limits to Raman-gain-doublet “fast-light” pulse propagation
We investigate the behavior of a system for generating “fast-light” pulses in which a bichromatic Raman pumping beam is used to generate optical gain at two frequencies and a region of anomalous dispersion between them. It is expected that increasing the gain will increase the pulse advancement. However, as the gain increases, the pumping field becomes increasingly distorted, effectively limiting the pulse advancement. We observe as much as 12% of the input pump power converted to orthogonal polarization, broadening of the initially bichromatic pump field (25 MHz initial frequency separation) to more than 2.5 GHz, and a temporal collapse of the pump beam into an erratic train of sub-500-ps pulses. The instability is attributed to the combined effects of the cross modulation instability and stimulated Raman scattering. Extreme distortion of an injected pulse that should (absent the instability) experience an advancement of 21% of its width is observed. We conclude that the fast-light pulse advancement is limited to just a few percent of the pulse width using this pulse advancement technique. The limitation imposed by the instability is important because careful study of the information velocity in fast-light pulses requires that pulse advancement be large enough to distinguish the velocities of different pulse features. Possible methods for achieving pulse advancement by avoiding the distortion caused by the instability are discussed. © 2003 The American Physical Society.
Stenner, MD; Gauthier, DJ
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