Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)




Irina Novikova


The recent prospect of efficient, reliable, and secure quantum communication relies on the ability to coherently and reversibly map nonclassical states of light onto long-lived atomic states. A promising technique that accomplishes this employs Electromagnetically Induced Transparency (EIT), in which a strong classical control field modifies the optical properties of a weak signal field in such a way that a previously opaque medium becomes transparent to the signal field. The accompanying steep dispersion in the index of refraction allows for pulses of light to be decelerated, then stored as an atomic excitation, and later retrieved as a photonic mode. This dissertation presents the results of investigations into methods for optimizing the memory efficiency of this process in an ensemble of hot Rb atoms. We have experimentally demonstrated the effectiveness of two protocols for yielding the best memory efficiency possible at a given atomic density. Improving memory efficiency requires operation at higher optical depths, where undesired effects such as four-wave mixing (FWM) become enhanced and can spontaneously produce a new optical mode (Stokes field). We present the results of experimental and theoretical investigations of the FWM-EIT interaction under continuous-wave (cw), slow light, and stored light conditions. In particular, we provide evidence that indicates that while a Stokes field is generated upon retrieval of the signal field, any information originally encoded in a seeded Stokes field is not independently preserved during the storage process. We present a simple model that describes the propagation dynamics and provides an intuitive description of the EIT-FWM process.



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