We develop a new theoretical treatment that can explain, for the first time to our knowledge, unexpectedly strong synchronized-quantum-beat-echo (SQBE) signals that we previously observed in the ground state of sodium atoms. The SQBE is obtained by successive application of two light-pulse trains tuned to an optical transition under the condition that the pulse repetition frequency or that of one of its harmonics is equal to the separation of a ground-state sublevel pair. The theory is developed for weak optical pumping for which the duration of the light-pulse trains is much longer than the spontaneous decay time of the excited state. We show that the echo is formed effectively as a result of nonuniform depopulation from the sublevel pair to the other levels because of frequency-selective optical pumping during the rapid spontaneous decay of the excited state. Details of the experiment with sodium atoms are described also.
© 1992 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: November 30, 1990
Revised Manuscript: November 4, 1991
Published: March 1, 1992
M. Tanigawa, Y. Fukuda, T. Hashi, T. Mishina, and M. Kunitomo, "Optical-pumping model of synchronized quantum-beat echoes," J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 9, 313-320 (1992)