Optical instabilities in sodium vapor

G. Giusfredi, J. F. Valley, R. Pon, G. Khitrova, H. M. Gibbs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


We present here instabilities observed in the transverse profile of a continuous-wave light beam that crosses a sample of sodium vapor twice by means of a feedback mirror. The wave front and the intensity of the beam are spatially modulated by the intensity-dependent dispersive and absorptive action of the vapor. Experimental evidence indicates that the vapor acts as a phase-conjugate mirror, thus providing an active cavity when it is coupled with the feedback mirror. The instabilities develop as a consequence of sideband generation at the resonant modes of this cavity. The transverse-mode profiles of these sidebands are analyzed experimentally.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1181-1192
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the Optical Society of America B: Optical Physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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