Abstract

We study the effect of resonant light pressure on the optical response of a Doppler-broadened atomic medium to a single monochromatic laser field. As a main consequence of the spontaneous scattering force, a novel contribution to the optical dispersion of the atomic gas is predicted, which shows a pronounced nonlinear intensity dependence; moreover, for a given laser intensity, its strength is closely related to the laser-beam diameter. Most importantly, this light-pressure-induced dispersion displays an even symmetry with respect to the optical Doppler detuning; as a result, the total dispersion curve of the medium can be changed substantially. In addition to a detailed theoretical description of the phenomenon, we propose a simple experiment based on frequency-modulation spectroscopy for the measurement of the predicted nonlinear dispersion feature.

© 1988 Optical Society of America

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