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Title: Faraday rotation of pulsed and continuous-wave light in atomic vapour
Author: Siddons, Paul
ISNI:       0000 0004 2705 6573
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2011
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The absorptive and dispersive properties of a Doppler-broadened vapour of rubidium atoms is investigated. A detailed model of the atom-light interaction is developed and found to be in excellent agreement with experiment in the regime where the interacting light field is sufficiently weak such that it does not significantly alter the medium through which it propagates. The importance of using a weak beam to probe atomic systems is discussed, and a method of characterising how weak such a beam has to be is provided. The theoretical model is applied to both situations of illumination by continuous-wave and pulsed light, the latter situation providing a demonstration of the slow light effect. This phenomenon is a manifestation of the dispersive properties of the medium and is shown to exist over a particularly large frequency range, compared to the absorption spectrum, in thermal vapours. Off-resonant interactions are studied, in which incident laser-light is detuned from resonance to such a degree that Doppler-broadening can be neglected. We quantify the extent to which the light needs to be detuned to be in this regime, and provide approximations to the line-shape function developed in earlier parts of the thesis. The approximate line-shapes are much easier to manipulate and allow a more intuitive understanding of the atom-light interaction. In the second part of the thesis we study the Faraday effect and related phenomena which are an expression of the birefringent properties of the atom-light system. Beginning with a theoretical and experimental investigation of the Faraday rotation of a weak continuous-wave beam, we move on to the consideration of pulsed light. Optically-induced birefringence via the application of an intense continuous-wave pumping field is demonstrated experimentally, and the theoretical plausibility of controlling the polarisation state of a weak pulsed field mediated via intense pulsed light is shown.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available