Electromagnetically Induced Transparency

S. E. Harris

For about 15 years, the atomic physics community has been aware of a phenomena that is termed population trapping. When two lasers with frequencies that couple two relatively metastable lower states to a common upper state are applied to an atom, the population of the atom is frozen or trapped in the lower states. As a result of a destructive quantum mechanical interference, the common upper state is empty, and (in steady state) the contribution of the atom to the susceptibility is zero. It is therefore possible to render an opaque media transparent at what would otherwise be a strongly absorbing atomic transition.

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