Abstract

In recent years, vector beams (VBs) with spatially varying polarization profiles have been used in many fields. Here we study the transmission properties of a hybrid VB passing through atomic vapor. We observe a four-petal pattern which is induced by the rapid transport of atomic coherence. This intensity distribution can be modified by coherence attenuation and absorption enhancement controlled by an external magnetic field. A second experiment with orthogonal circularly polarized states shows that the quantum coherence can be induced by two spatially separated laser beams and support our interpretation of our results for the hybrid VB experiment. Our results may have applications in optical manipulation, the measurement of magnetic fields, and the study of quantum coherence in atomic ensembles.

© 2019 Optical Society of America

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