Analysis of four-wave mixing of high-power lasers for the detection of elastic photon-photon scattering

J. Lundin, M. Marklund, E. Lundström, G. Brodin, J. Collier, R. Bingham, J. T. Mendonça, P. Norreys

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We derive expressions for the coupling coefficients for electromagnetic four-wave mixing in the nonlinear quantum vacuum. An experimental setup for detection of elastic photon-photon scattering is suggested, where three incoming laser pulses collide and generate a fourth wave with a new frequency and direction of propagation. An expression for the number of scattered photons is derived and, using beam parameters for the Astra Gemini system at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, it is found that the signal can reach detectable levels. Problems with shot-to-shot reproducibility are reviewed, and the magnitude of the noise arising from competing scattering processes is estimated. It is found that detection of elastic photon-photon scattering may be achieved.
Original languageEnglish
Article number043821
Number of pages10
JournalPhysical Review A
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2006


  • Nonlinear thomson scattering
  • strong magnetic field
  • single photons
  • beam splitter
  • pulses
  • plasmas
  • electrodynamics
  • vacuum
  • four wave mixing
  • light scattering
  • parameter estimation
  • photons
  • quantum theory
  • laser pulses

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