We evaluate the advantages of performing cross-phase modulation (XPM) on a very-far-off-resonance atomic system. We consider a ladder system with a weak (few-photon level) control coherent field imparting a conditional nonlinear phase shift on a probe beam. We find that by coupling to an optical resonator, the optimal XPM is enhanced proportional to the finesse of the resonator by a factor of ��/4��. We present a semiclassical description of the system and show that the phenomenon is optimal in the self-defined condition of off-resonance effective cooperativity equal to one.
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