Abstract

A theory of optical free-induction decay (FID) induced by two exciting light pulses in three-level atomic systems subjected to a constant magnetic field is presented. The theory takes into account the hyperfine interaction, the level degeneracy, and the dependence of the FID signal on the polarizations of the exciting pulses. An analysis of the FID signal in a magnetic field suggests new ways to measure the g factors of the levels, the hyperfine structure constants, and the relaxation rates. The results obtained are extended to include the echelon excitation of the multilevel system by a definite set of light pulses with specially chosen frequencies and polarizations.

© 1987 Optical Society of America

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