Bunching-induced optical nonlinearity and instability in cold atoms [Invited].


Journal Article

We report a new nonlinear optical process that occurs in a cloud of cold atoms at low-light-levels when the incident optical fields simultaneously polarize, cool, and spatially-organize the atoms. We observe an extremely large effective fifth-order nonlinear susceptibility of χ(⁵) = 7.6 × 10⁻¹⁵ (m/V)⁴, which results in efficient Bragg scattering via six-wave mixing, slow group velocities (∼ c/10⁵), and enhanced atomic coherence times (> 100 μs). In addition, this process is particularly sensitive to the atomic temperatures, and provides a new tool for in-situ monitoring of the atomic momentum distribution in an optical lattice. For sufficiently large light-matter couplings, we observe an optical instability for intensities as low as ∼ 1 mW/cm² in which new, intense beams of light are generated and result in the formation of controllable transverse optical patterns.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Greenberg, JA; Schmittberger, BL; Gauthier, DJ

Published Date

  • November 7, 2011

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 19 / 23

Start / End Page

  • 22535 - 22549

PubMed ID

  • 22109132

Pubmed Central ID

  • 22109132

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1094-4087

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1364/OE.19.022535


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States