Measurements of quantum noise in optical phase conjugation via four-wave mixing in an atomic vapor
Additional Document Info
We present the results of a comprehensive investigation of the quantum-noise properties of a continuous-wave phase-conjugate mirror (PCM) formed using backward-four-wave mixing in potassium vapor. We characterize the quantum-noise properties of the PCM as functions of the vapor density, pump detuning from resonance, and relative frequency detuning of the signal beam from the probe beam. We compare the noise measurements of the PCM with the predicted noise of an ideal quantum-noise-limited PCM and determine the value of the minimum signal that can be used to perform phase conjugation with unity signal-to-noise ratio. For the range of vapor densities studied, we find that the PCM operates nearest the quantum-noise limit and that the value of the minimum signal is lowest under conditions in which the reflectivity is maximized. These results demonstrate that it is possible to perform phase conjugation with signals as weak as 14 fW with near-unity reflectivity. Our measurements are in qualitative agreement with the predictions of a quantum theory of phase conjugation via nearly degenerate four-wave mixing in a two-level system. 1999 The American Physical Society.