OSA's Digital Library

Journal of the Optical Society of America B

Journal of the Optical Society of America B


  • Vol. 15, Iss. 2 — Feb. 1, 1998
  • pp: 594–606

Dynamics of light-pattern formation of polarized laser beams propagating through sodium vapor

S. Dangel and R. Holzner  »View Author Affiliations

JOSA B, Vol. 15, Issue 2, pp. 594-606 (1998)

View Full Text Article

Acrobat PDF (651 KB)

Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Browse by Journal and Year


Lookup Conference Papers

Close Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Article Tools



The interaction of polarized laser beams and sodium vapor can lead to a variety of intensity and polarization patterns owing to optical-pumping-induced refractive-index variations along and transverse to the beam-propagation direction. While the steady-state behavior has been observed and described in the past, the modeling of the dynamics of the pattern formation processes has become possible only recently. We present the first, to our knowledge, three-dimensional simulations of the dynamics of beam bouncing, beam switching, and beam splitting and the deflection of a laser beam by the inhomogeneous magnetic field of a current-carrying wire. Numerical algorithms used for the calculations and experimental aspects for future observations are discussed.

© 1998 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(020.2930) Atomic and molecular physics : Hyperfine structure
(190.4420) Nonlinear optics : Nonlinear optics, transverse effects in

S. Dangel and R. Holzner, "Dynamics of light-pattern formation of polarized laser beams propagating through sodium vapor," J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 15, 594-606 (1998)

Sort:  Author  |  Year  |  Journal  |  Reset


  1. N. B. Abraham and W. J. Firth, “Overview of transverse effects in nonlinear-optical systems,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 7, 951–962 (1990).
  2. W. Happer, “Optical pumping,” Rev. Mod. Phys. 44, 169–249 (1972).
  3. S. Dangel and R. Holzner, “Semi-classical theory for the interaction dynamics of laser light and sodium atoms including the hyperfine structure,” Phys. Rev. A 56, 3937–3949 (1997).
  4. S. Dangel, P. Eschle, B. Röhricht, U. Rusch, H. Schmid, and R. Holzner, “Dynamics of laser beam switching in sodium vapor,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 12, 681–686 (1995).
  5. A. W. McCord and R. J. Ballagh, “Mutual beam reshaping by two interacting radiation modes,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 7, 73–83 (1990).
  6. R. Holzner, P. Eschle, A. W. McCord, and D. M. Warrington, “Transverse “bouncing” of polarized laser beams in sodium vapor,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 69, 2192–2195 (1992).
  7. B. Röhricht, U. Rusch, S. Dangel, H. Schmid, P. Eschle, R. Holzner, and W. Sandle, “Optical pumping induced ring structures of polarized laser light propagating through sodium vapor,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 12, 1411–1415 (1995).
  8. D. McClelland, H. Bachor, and J. Wang, “Experimental observation of spatial polarization separation by absorptive self-focussing,” Opt. Commun. 84, 184–188 (1991).
  9. A. Wilson, W. Sandle, D. Warrington, R. Ballagh, and A. McCord, “Observation of separated, polarized ring structures induced by nonlinear beam reshaping,” Opt. Commun. 88, 67–72 (1992).
  10. A. Gahl, J. Seipenbusch, A. Aumann, M. Möller, and W. Lange, “Self-induced planar and cylindrical splitting of a laser beam in sodium vapor,” Phys. Rev. A 50, R917–920 (1994).
  11. B. Röhricht, A. W. McCord, M. Brambilla, F. Prati, S. Dangel, P. Eschle, and R. Holzner, “Spatial separation of circularly polarized laser beams in sodium vapor,” Opt. Commun. 118, 601–606 (1995).
  12. D. Suter, “Optically excited Zeeman coherences in atomic ground states: nuclear-spin effects,” Phys. Rev. A 46, 344–350 (1992).
  13. R. Richard, S. Dangel, P. Eschle, B. Röhricht, H. Schmid, U. Rusch, and R. Holzner, “Laser beam switching, splitting and bending in sodium vapor,” in Digest of the International Quantum Electronics Conference (Optical Society of America, Washington, D.C., 1996), pp. 214–215.
  14. R. J. Ballagh and A. W. McCord, “Deflection of a laser beam by a current carrying wire,” in Proceedings of the Seventeenth International Quantum Electronics Conference (IEEE, New York, 1992), pp. 520–522.
  15. R. Holzner, P. Eschle, S. Dangel, R. Richard, H. Schmid, U. Rusch, B. Röhricht, R. J. Ballagh, A. W. McCord, and W. J. Sandle, “Observation of magnetic-field-induced laser beam deflection in sodium vapor,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 78, 3451–54 (1997).
  16. L. C. Balling, “Optical pumping,” Adv. Quantum Electron. 3, 1–167 (1975).
  17. M. Brambilla, L. Lugiato, V. Penna, F. Prati, C. Tamm, and C. Weiss, “Transverse laser patterns. II. Variational principle for pattern selection, spatial multistability, and laser hydrodynamics,” Phys. Rev. A 43, S114–S120 (1991).
  18. I. Stakgold, Green’s Functions and Boundary-Value Problems (Wiley, New York, 1979).
  19. G. D. Smith, Numerical Solution of Partial Differential Equations, 2nd ed. (Clarendon, London, 1978).
  20. P. Swarztrauber, “The methods of cyclic reduction, Fourier analysis and the FACR algorithm for the discrete solution of Poisson’s equation on a rectangle,” SIAM (Soc. Ind. Appl. Math.) Rev. 19, 490–501 (1977).
  21. A. Omont, “Irreducible components of the density matrix,” Prog. Quantum Electron. 5, 69–138 (1977).
  22. M. Ducloy, “Nonlinear effects in optical pumping of atoms by a high-intensity multimode gas laser. General theory,” Phys. Rev. A 8, 1844–1859 (1973).
  23. H. Kogelnik and T. Li, “Laser beams and resonators,” Appl. Opt. 5, 1550–1567 (1966).

Cited By

Alert me when this paper is cited

OSA is able to provide readers links to articles that cite this paper by participating in CrossRef's Cited-By Linking service. CrossRef includes content from more than 3000 publishers and societies. In addition to listing OSA journal articles that cite this paper, citing articles from other participating publishers will also be listed.

« Previous Article  |  Next Article »

OSA is a member of CrossRef.

CrossCheck Deposited