Abstract

We demonstrate that collective atomic interferences can be investigated by measuring the superfluorescence (SF) time delay. A pair of broadband (20nm), ultrashort (80fs), collinear pulses with a variable delay coherently excites rubidium (Rb) atoms. The generated superfluorescent pulses at 420 nm on the cascade transition are recorded by a picosecond streak camera. Both intensity and SF time delay of the 420 nm pulse are altered as the delay between input pulses varies. In particular, the SF time delay of the normalized 420 nm pulse exhibits oscillations with different periods. This can be understood in terms of atomic and quantum interferences due to two possible two-photon excitation pathways through the intermediate levels (Rb D-lines).

© 2012 Optical Society of America

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