We present our experimental demonstration of controlling the cavity output intensity of one laser beam with the intensity of another laser beam in a composite system consisting of a collection of three-level ⋀-type rubidium atoms and an optical ring cavity. When the intensity of the controlling beam is modulated with a square waveform, the cavity output power switches on and off (with a distinction ratio better than 20:1) between two steady-state values. This all-optical switching effect is the result of combined absorption and enhanced Kerr nonlinearity near resonance in such three-level atomic systems because of atomic coherence and can find applications in optical communication and optical computation.
© 2002 Optical Society of America
(030.1670) Coherence and statistical optics : Coherent optical effects
(160.4330) Materials : Nonlinear optical materials
(190.1450) Nonlinear optics : Bistability
(190.3270) Nonlinear optics : Kerr effect
(230.1150) Optical devices : All-optical devices
Hai Wang, David Goorskey, and Min Xiao, "Controlling light by light with three-level atoms inside an optical cavity," Opt. Lett. 27, 1354-1356 (2002)