Abstract

We study a theoretical model that describes an optically pumped Fabry–Perot cavity filled with sodium vapor as a nonlinear absorptive medium. The nonlinear medium is subjected to a static magnetic field. A difference of population is built up between Zeeman sublevels of the ground state when the pump exceeds a threshold. This gives rise to a nonsymmetrical absorption of the two circularly polarized components of the incident light. The emphasis of this paper is on the derivation of analytic results. We show that the system can exhibit a self-pulsing behavior and that in a suitable domain of parameters the system has two or more steady states. This is known as optical bistability or optical multistability.

© 1989 Optical Society of America

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