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We have measured the gain and statistical-noise properties of a weak probe beam amplified through two-beam coupling in atomic-potassium vapor for both the Rabi and stimulated Rayleigh gain features. The probe-beam gain was observed to be as large as 125 for the Rabi feature, whereas the gain was typically less than 2 for the Rayleigh feature. The rms noise at the Rabi gain feature was approximately three times greater than the ideal amplifier quantum-noise limit. For the Rayleigh gain feature, the rms noise was 12 to 15 times greater than the ideal amplifier quantum-noise limit. We present a fully quantum-mechanical theory of two-beam coupling in a system of two-level atoms which includes the effects of atomic motion and pump-beam absorption. The predictions of this theory are in good agreement with the experimental data. 1996 The American Physical Society.
author list (cited authors)
Davis, W. V., Gaeta, A. L., Boyd, R. W., & Agarwal, G. S.