9 September 2009 Interference effects in a cavity for optical amplification
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In space situational awareness scenarios, the objects needed to be characterized and identified are usually quite far away and quite dim. Thus, optical detectors need to be able to sense these very dim optical signals. Quantum interference in a three-level system can lead to amplification of optical signals. If we put a three-level system into a cavity tuned to the frequency of an incoming optical signal, we anticipate the amplification possibilities should be increased proportional to the quality factor of the cavity. Our vision is to utilize quantum dots in photonic crystal cavities, but as a stepping stone we first investigate a simple three-level system in a free-space optical cavity. We investigate quantum interference and classical interference effects when a three-level system interacts with both a cavity field mode and an external driving field mode. We find that under certain circumstances the cavity field evolves to be equal in magnitude to, but 180° out-of-phase with the external pump field when the pump field frequency equals the cavity frequency. At this point the resonance fluorescence from the atom in the cavity goes to zero due to a purely classical interference effect between the two out-of-phase fields. This is quite different from the quantum interference that occurs under the right circumstances, when the state populations are coherently driven into a linear combination that is decoupled from any applied field - and population is trapped in the excited states, thus allowing for a population inversion and an amplification of incoming optical signals.
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D. A. Cardimona, D. A. Cardimona, P. M. Alsing, P. M. Alsing, } "Interference effects in a cavity for optical amplification", Proc. SPIE 7467, Nanophotonics and Macrophotonics for Space Environments III, 74670M (9 September 2009); doi: 10.1117/12.825090; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.825090

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