Optical pattern formation with a two-level nonlinearity

A. Camara, R. Kaiser, G. Labeyrie, W. J. Firth, G.-L. Oppo, G. R. M. Robb, A. S. Arnold, T. Ackemann

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Abstract

We present an experimental and theoretical investigation of spontaneous pattern formation in the transverse section of a single retroreflected laser beam passing through a cloud of cold rubidium atoms. In contrast to previously investigated systems, the nonlinearity at work here is that of a two-level atom, which realizes the paradigmatic situation considered in many theoretical studies of optical pattern formation. In particular, we are able to observe the disappearance of the patterns at high intensity due to the intrinsic saturable character of two-level atomic transitions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number013820
Number of pages5
JournalPhysical Review A
Volume92
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jul 2015

Keywords

  • atom lasers
  • laser beams
  • atomic transition
  • cold rubidium atoms
  • high intensity
  • optical pattern formation
  • spontaneous pattern formation
  • theoretical investigations
  • theoretical study
  • transverse section

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