Abstract

Degenerate four-wave mixing (DFWM) from laser-populated excited states, i.e., two-step DFWM (2S-DFWM), has been performed to investigate the possibility of increasing signal quality (i.e., strength or signal-to-noise ratio) when species with low transition probabilities or far-UV transitions are to be detected or when large beam areas are used. Gold atoms, aspirated into an air–acetylene flame, were chosen as a suitable species for this investigation. The 2S-DFWM signal strength was found to be comparable to the ordinary (one-step) DFWM signals for moderately high UV-light intensities but substantially better for low UV-light intensities. This finding implies that DFWM detection of species with lower transition probabilities in the first step as compared with gold (<10−8 s−1) can benefit from the 2S-DFWM technique when moderate or low UV-light intensities are available. Additional possible advantages of using 2S-DFWM are also discussed.

© 1995 Optical Society of America

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