Abstract

We have observed coherent Raman beat signals from a Λ-type three-level system in a sodium atomic vapor. The sample is first prepared in a coherent superposition state of the ground-state hyperfine levels, or a dark state, by resonant bichromatic radiation. A following sudden frequency shift of one of the excitation beams causes the beat signals. Detailed analytical calculations based on the three-level Liouville equations are presented and are compared with experimental results. This simple technique is particularly suited for the obtaining of information on the generated sublevel coherence, including magnitude, phase, and decay time.

© 2005 Optical Society of America

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