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Durham University

Department of Physics

Staff profile

Publication details for Dr Steven Wrathmall

Ogden, Thomas P., Whittaker, K. A., Keaveney, J., Wrathmall, S. A., Adams, C. S. & Potvliege, R. M. (2019). Quasisimultons in Thermal Atomic Vapors. Physical Review Letters 123(24): 243604

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

The propagation of two-color laser fields through optically thick atomic ensembles is studied. We
demonstrate how the interaction between these two fields spawns the formation of copropagating,
two-color solitonlike pulses akin to the simultons found by Konopnicki and Eberly [Phys. Rev. A 24,
2567 (1981)]. For the particular case of thermal Rb atoms exposed to a combination of a weak cw laser field
resonant on the D1 transition and a strong sub-ns laser pulse resonant on the D2 transition, simulton
formation is initiated by an interplay between the 5s1=2 − 5p1=2 and 5s1=2 − 5p3=2 coherences. The interplay
amplifies the D1 field at the arrival of the D2 pulse, producing a sech-squared pulse with a length of less than
10 μm. This amplification is demonstrated in a time-resolved measurement of the light transmitted through a
thin thermal cell. We find good agreement between experiment and a model that includes the hyperfine
structure of the relevant levels. With the addition of Rydberg dressing, quasisimultons may offer interesting
prospects for strong photon-photon interactions in a robust environment.