Four-wave mixing with self-phase matching due to collective atomic recoil

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We describe a method for nondegenerate four-wave-mixing in a cold sample of four-level atoms. An integral part of the four-wave-mixing process is a collective instability which spontaneously generates a periodic density modulation in the cold atomic sample with a period equal to half of the wavelength of the generated high-frequency optical field. Because of the generation of this density modulation, phase matching between the pump and scattered fields is not a necessary initial condition for this wave-mixing process to occur; rather the density modulation acts to 'self-phase match' the fields during the course of the wave-mixing process. We describe a one-dimensional model of this process, and suggest a proof-of-principle experiment which would involve pumping a sample of cold Cs atoms with three infrared pump fields to produce blue light.
Original languageEnglish
Article number023901
Pages (from-to)023901-1
Number of pages4
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2005


  • four-wave-mixing
  • atoms
  • waves
  • optics
  • density modulation


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