Abstract

We present our experimental demonstration of controlling the cavity output intensity of one laser beam with the intensity of another laser beam in a composite system consisting of a collection of three-level Λtype rubidium atoms and an optical ring cavity. When the intensity of the controlling beam is modulated with a square waveform, the cavity output power switches on and off (with a distinction ratio better than 20:1) between two steady-state values. This all-optical switching effect is the result of combined absorption and enhanced Kerr nonlinearity near resonance in such three-level atomic systems because of atomic coherence and can find applications in optical communication and optical computation.

© 2002 Optical Society of America

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