Abstract

The degenerate four-wave-mixing process in the vicinity of an autoionizing state is studied theoretically in the context of perturbation theory. The autoionizing state is represented either by an isolated Fano profile or by the appropriate expression of the multichannel quantum-defect theory for the corresponding Rydberg series of autoionizing states. Analytic expressions for the third-order susceptibility are given together with realistic numerical estimates based on atomic parameters extracted from accurate spectroscopic data. It is demonstrated that the observation of the effect is feasible in extensively studied atomic systems (e.g., alkaline earths) with existing coherent light sources. Constraints on the atomic parameters that will facilitate the experimental observation of the effect are identified and shown to be frequently met in real atomic systems.

© 1998 Optical Society of America

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