COSMA: Coherent Optics Sensors for Medical Application is an European Marie Curie Project running from 2012 to March 2016, with the participation of 10 teams from Armenia, Bulgaria, India, Israel, Italy, Poland, Russia, UK, USA. The main objective was to focus theoretical and experimental research on biomagnetism phenomena, with the specific aim to develop all-optical sensors dedicated to their detection and suitable for applications in clinical diagnostics. The paper presents some of the most recent results obtained during the exchange visits of the involved scientists, after an introduction about the phenomenon which is the pillar of this kind of research and of many other new fields in laser spectroscopy, atomic physics, and quantum optics: the dark resonance.
A narrowband R-type resonance is formed in a Λ-system, on the <i>D</i><sub>1</sub> line of Rb atomic vapor using two continuous diode lasers with λ=795 nm. A 8mm- long cell filled with the Rb vapor and 20 Torr neon gas has been used. We have shown that use of an additional (3<sup>rd</sup>) laser which is resonant with the Rb D<sub>2</sub> line (λ=780 nm) makes it possible to control the amplitude and sign of the <i>R</i> -type resonance, i.e. to convert a resonance which demonstrates increase in absorption into one which demonstrates reduction in absorption. The good signal/noise ratio of the observed resonance allows us to follow its behavior in an applied magnetic field from several gauss to several hundred gauss. A description in terms of double-Λ systems allows us to explain the experimental results in a simple manner.
We discuss the effect of static and time-dependent longitudinal and transverse magnetic fields on degenerate two-level and three-level systems in Rb atomic vapor. The effect of a transverse magnetic field (TMF) on the absorption spectra of degenerate two-level systems in the D<sub>2</sub> line of <sup>87</sup>Rb is investigated both analytically and numerically. We compare the effect of the TMF on the absorption of a σ polarized pump in the Hanle configuration with that of a σ<sup>−</sup> probe in the presence of a σ<sup>+</sup> pump in the pump-probe configuration, and show that the absorption spectra in both configurations is split in the presence of a TMF and that the splitting is proportional to the magnitude of the TMF. Coherent population trapping (CPT) transients induced by a modulated longitudinal magnetic field (LMF) are investigated theoretically for a realistic three-level Λ system in the D<sub>1</sub> line of <sup>87</sup>Rb. The contributions to the transient probe absorption from the various subsystems that comprise the realistic atomic system are examined and the absorption of each Λ subsystem is compared to that of a simple Λ system. We also present theoretical results for CPT transients induced by a modulated TMF. The application of a TMF leads to the appearance of new Λ subsystems, the creation of new dark states and the rearrangement of the population among the Zeeman sublevels. We show that transients appear as the system is switched between various steady-state situations and we identify the various components of the total probe absorption.