Abstract

We present a five-level atomic system in which the index of refraction of a probe laser can be enhanced or reduced below unity with vanishing absorption in the region between pairs of absorption and gain lines formed by dressing of the atoms with a control laser and rf/microwave fields. By weak incoherent pumping of the population into a single metastable state, one can create several narrow amplifying resonances. At frequencies between these gain lines and additional absorption lines, there exist regions of vanishing absorption but resonantly enhanced index of refraction. In Rb vapors with density N in units of cm3, we predict an index of refraction up to n1+1.2×1014N for the D1 line, which is more than an order of magnitude larger than other proposals for index of refraction enhancement. Furthermore, the index can be readily reduced below 1 by simply changing the sign of the probe or rf field detunings. This enhancement is robust with respect to homogeneous and inhomogeneous broadening.

© 2011 Optical Society of America

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