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A giant electro-optic effect using polarizable dark states

Mohapatra, A.K. and Bason, M.G. and Butscher, B. and Weatherill, K.J. and Adams, C.S. (2008) 'A giant electro-optic effect using polarizable dark states.', Nature physics., 4 (11). pp. 890-894.


The electro-optic effect, where the refractive index of a medium is modified by an electric field, is of central importance in nonlinear optics, laser technology, quantum optics and optical communications. In general, electro-optic coefficients are very weak and a medium with a giant electro-optic coefficient could have profound implications for precision electrometry and nonlinear optics at the single-photon level. Here we propose and demonstrate a giant d.c. electro-optic effect on the basis of polarizable (Rydberg) dark states. When a medium is prepared in a dark state consisting of a superposition of ground and Rydberg energy levels, it becomes transparent and acquires a refractive index that is dependent on the energy of the highly polarizable Rydberg state. We demonstrate phase modulation of the light field in the Rydberg-dark-state medium and measure an electro-optic coefficient that is more than six orders of magnitude larger than in usual Kerr media.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(SMUR) Submitted Manuscript Under Review
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Status:Not peer-reviewed
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Record Created:01 Oct 2010 15:05
Last Modified:06 Oct 2010 14:57

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