Abstract

We suggest a technique based on the transfer of topological charge from applied laser radiation to directional and coherent optical fields generated in ladder-type excited atomic media to identify the major processes responsible for their appearance. As an illustration, in Rb vapors, we analyze transverse intensity and phase profiles of the forward-directed collimated blue and near-IR light using self-interference and astigmatic transformation techniques when either or both of two resonant laser beams carry orbital angular momentum. Our observations unambiguously demonstrate that emission at 1.37 μm is the result of a parametric four-wave mixing process involving only one of the two applied laser fields.

© 2015 Optical Society of America

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