Abstract

The theory of phase conjugation in laser amplifiers by saturable-gain degenerate four-wave mixing with copolarized beams is developed for pulses of arbitrary temporal shape and duration in the limit of a weak signal beam. The influence of the input pulse’s characteristics (energy, temporal pulse shape, duration) on the phase-conjugate reflectivity and on the conjugate pulse shape is analyzed. A sharp instantaneous peak of phase-conjugate reflectivity is predicted at high intensities of the four-wave mixing beams. This effect is experimentally demonstrated at λ0 = 1064 nm in a Nd:YVO4 amplifier pumped by a cw Ti:sapphire laser. A transient peak reflectivity of R ∼ 50% is thus obtained, corresponding to an enhancement of 1.6× compared with the maximum steady-state reflectivity. The experimental results and the theoretical predictions are in good agreement.

© 1996 Optical Society of America

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