Abstract

We treat the problem of four-wave resonant mixing of ultrashort laser pulses in gaseous media. We show that for some transitions, for example, quadrupole transitions, the polarization effects can be strongly manifested. For four-wave two-photon resonant mixing we find that the signal-wave plane rotation depends on the parameters of the resonant medium and the pulses mixed. We show that for long pump pulses and short signal pulses in the ultrashort-pulse time domain the angle of rotation of the plane of polarization of the signal plane can reach several dozen degrees. We show that the effect of altering the state of polarization of the short signal pulse can be used for measuring its shape and duration. Since the polarization measurements are precise and the proposed regimes of four-wave mixing do not depend on phase and amplitude fluctuations of the measuring pulse, the polarization four-wave mixing technique can be more accurate than the technique widely used for such purposes, measurement of the second-order intensity correlation function. We also discuss new nonlinear spectroscopy for measuring fast resonant susceptibilities (in particular, second-order polarizabilities) of the medium, based on the rotation of the polarization plane or the polarization ellipse of the signal pulse.

© 1990 Optical Society of America

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