Abstract

We have employed dye-laser pulses of 10-nsec duration and 1.5–10-nm bandwidth in a transient four-wave-mixing experiment to study high-perturber-pressure collisional dephasing in dilute atomic sodium vapor. Working at argon perturber pressures of several atmospheres, we are able clearly to resolve dephasing times over a thousand times shorter than our excitation pulse duration. Measured dephasing rates are in excellent agreement with those measured by more traditional methods. When both of the sodium D lines are excited, our signal displays quantum-beat-like oscillations at the 0.52-THz frequency difference between these two states. We provide a simple picture explaining the origin of these beats.

© 1986 Optical Society of America

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