Abstract

Observations of optical bistability are reported for a system composed of multiple atomic beams passing through a high-finesse optical cavity. Both the transmitted power and the intracavity fluorescent intensity have been recorded as functions of incident laser power for zero cavity and atomic detunings. A quantitative study has been made of the evolution of the steady-state switching intensities from well below the critical onset of bistability to well above this point. The results show reasonable agreement with a Gaussian-beam theory of optical bistability, but systematic departures are noted.

© 1982 Optical Society of America

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