Ultrafast pulse interactions with two-level atoms

Richard W. Ziolkowski, John M. Arnold, Daniel M. Gogny

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

356 Scopus citations


An iterative predictor-corrector finite-difference time-domain method is used to solve the semiclassical Maxwell-Bloch system numerically without invoking any of the standard approximations such as the rotating-wave approximation. This approach permits a more exact study of self-induced transparency effects in a two-level atom. In addition to recovering the standard results, for instance, for , 2, and 4 pulses, several features in the results appear at the zeros of the driving pulse, where its time derivatives are maximum. Several ultrafast-pulse examples demonstrate that time-derivative- driven nonlinearities have a significant impact on the time evolution of a two-level atom system. Moreover, typical small-signal gain results are also obtained with our Maxwell-Bloch simulator. We illustrate that these time-derivative effects can be used to design an ultrafast, single-cycle pump pulse that completely inverts the two-level atom population. A pump-probe signal set is then used to illustrate gain in the probe signal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3082-3094
Number of pages13
JournalPhysical Review A
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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