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We report observations of the dynamics of electromagnetically induced transparency (EIT) in a Λ system when the ground states are Stark shifted. Interactions of this type exhibit large optical nonlinearities called Kerr nonlinearities, and have numerous applications. The EIT Kerr nonlinearity is relatively slow, which is a limiting factor that may make many potential applications impossible. Using rubidium atoms, we observe the dynamics of the EIT Kerr nonlinearity using a Mach-Zehnder interferometer to measure phase modulation of the EIT fields resulting from a pulsed signal beam Stark shifting the ground state energy levels. The rise times and transients agree well with theory.


This article was originally published in Physical Review A, volume 76, issue 3, in 2007.

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American Physical Society

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