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Title: Applications of the Faraday effect in hot atomic vapours
Author: Zentile, Mark Anthony
ISNI:       0000 0004 5360 3286
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis presents both a computational and experimental investigation into light propagation in hot alkali-metal vapours, with a particular focus on utilizing the Faraday effect for practical applications. A model to calculate various spectra for a weak-probe laser beam in an atomic medium with an applied axial magnetic field is presented. A computer program (ElecSus) was developed which implements this model efficiently. Using ElecSus we design optical devices such as Faraday filters and laser frequency stabilizing references. The design of Faraday filters utilizing compact vapour cells is shown, along with excellent agreement with experiment. The importance of including the effect of self broadening in the model is shown for these short path length vapour cells. Also, a Faraday filter is presented that can potentially be used for quantum optics experiments on the caesium D$_1$ line (894~nm). The filter displays the highest ratio of transmission to equivalent noise bandwidth to date for a linear Faraday filter, demonstrating the power of computerized optimization for this application. Furthermore, a Faraday filter is presented for use as an intra-cavity element in an external-cavity diode laser. A proof-of-principle experiment is demonstrated which shows that using a short external cavity with the Faraday filter eliminates mode-hops. Experimentally and theoretically the Faraday effect is investigated in large magnetic fields where alkali-metal atoms enter the hyperfine Paschen-Back regime. This hyperfine Paschen-Back Faraday effect is shown to allow a direct measure of the refractive indices for left and right circular polarized light. Furthermore, fitting the weak-probe spectra using ElecSus is found to give measures of the magnetic field with a fractional precision of the order of $10^{-4}$. In addition we study slow-light pulse propagation in a high density rubidium vapour, showing that our theoretical model for the electric susceptibility is valid for short pulses as well as continuous-wave light. This shows that the model is accurate for predicting weak-probe pulse propagation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available