Abstract

We present a theoretical description of the interaction of optical waves due to the resonant nonlinear response of an atomic system. We emphasize how the resonant nature of the nonlinear coupling is modified by the shifting of the atomic energy levels as a consequence of the dynamic Stark effect and show the equivalent role played by population pulsations in determining the nature of the nonlinear coupling. A general formalism is developed to treat these effects and is explicitly applied to several examples of current interest, including single-beam saturation spectroscopy, pump–probe saturation spectroscopy, modulation spectroscopy, degenerate four-wave mixing for phase conjugation, and instabilities in the beam propagation through resonant media.

© 1988 Optical Society of America

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