Abstract

We theoretically investigate the influence of a coherent pump field on the propagation of a weak light pulse of a probe field in a four-level atomic system. Due to the modulation of the pump field, the light pulse can be manipulated from subluminal to superluminal with negligible distortion. This scheme can be realized in both the ultracold and Doppler-broadened atomic systems. We also demonstrate that the spectral linewidth with an anomalous dispersion is reduced by thermal averaging; therefore, one can obtain a larger negative group refractive index in room-temperature vapor than the largest value achieved in ultracold atomic gas.

© 2009 Optical Society of America

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