Abstract

Optical nutation has been used as an important spectroscopic tool to study the interaction between atoms and coherent light. It is based on the fact that the input pulse area needed to reach the first nutation peak is a constant value that only depends on the transverse mode of the optical beam. The interaction strength in terms of Rabi frequency can be measured directly from the time to reach the first nutation peak. However, the assumption of constant pulse area is only valid in the limit of the optically thin media, while optically thick media are of great interest for applications in classical and quantum information storage and processing. This paper studies the behavior of optical nutation in optically thick media through theoretical simulation and experiments in rare-earth atomic ensembles doped in a crystal lattice. A simple formula for the input pulse area as a function of the absorption length has been found, which covers optically thick media and is consistent with the value given by the low absorption limit.

© 2018 Optical Society of America

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