Abstract

We investigate the effects of the input laser beam’s temporal pulse shape on a forward degenerate four-wave mixing (FDFWM) signal, assuming two-level saturable absorbers. Under conditions in which the coherence time is far shorter than the pulse-duration, we can calculate the signal easily in the time and frequency domains. From this result it is shown that, when the pulse duration is longer than ten times the population relaxation time, the calculated signal intensity is almost the same as that obtained by assuming a steady state throughout duration of the laser pulse. With this assumption, we obtain the signal by summing all the steady-state signals at each time-domain grid point during the pulse. The calculation is performed with three input beam temporal pulse shapes: square, Gaussian, and typical Q-switched pulses. After reaching a maximum, the signal intensity decreases. The rates of the signal increase and decrease depend strongly on the temporal shape of the input beam. For the same average power, the square-pulse input saturates the absorber faster than the other pulses. These results indicate that the weak part of the pulse input plays an important role in generating the signal, yielding differences in saturation behavior of the signal intensity and the spectral line shape. We compare the calculations with experiments by fitting the saturation curve of the FDFWM signal of argon atoms in a radio frequency inductively coupled plasma. Also, the spectral line shape of the DFWM signal is fitted with the calculation by use of published experimental data.

© 2001 Optical Society of America

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