Nonlinear optics with cold Rb atoms using tapered optical nanofibres
University College Cork
Optical nanofibres (ONFs) are very thin optical waveguides with sub-wavelength diameters. ONFs have very high evanescent fields and the guided light is confined strongly in the transverse direction. These fibres can be used to achieve strong light-matter interactions. Atoms around the waist of an ONF can be probed by collecting the atomic fluorescence coupling or by measuring the transmission (or the polarisation) of the probe beam sent through it. This thesis presents experiments using ONFs for probing and manipulating laser-cooled 87Rb atoms. As an initial experiment, a single mode ONF was integrated into a magneto-optical trap (MOT) and used for measuring the characteristics of the MOT, such as the loading time and the average temperature of the atom cloud. The effect of a near-resonant probe beam on the local temperature of the cold atoms has been studied. Next, the ONF was used for manipulating the atoms in the evanescent fields region in order to generate nonlinear optical effects. Four-wave mixing, ac Stark effect (Autler-Townes splitting) and electromagnetically induced transparency have been observed at unprecedented ultralow power levels. In another experiment, a few-mode ONF, supporting only the fundamental mode and the first higher order mode group, has been used for studying cold atoms. A higher pumping rate of the atomic fluorescence into the higher order fibreguided modes and more interactions with the surrounding atoms for higher order mode evanescent light, when compared to signals for the fundamental mode, have been identified. The results obtained in the thesis are particularly for a fundamental understanding of light-atom interactions when atoms are near a dielectric surface and also for the development of fibre-based quantum information technologies. Atoms coupled to ONFs could be used for preparing intrinsically fibre-coupled quantum nodes for quantum computing and the studies presented here are significant for a detailed understanding of such a system.
Nanofibre , Laser cooling and trapping , Atomic physics , Spectroscopy of atoms
Kumar, R. 2015. Nonlinear optics with cold Rb atoms using tapered optical nanofibres. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.