Wave packet interferometry and quantum state reconstruction by acousto-optic phase modulation

Tekavec, Patrick F.; Dyke, Thomas R.; Marcus, Andrew H.
November 2006
Journal of Chemical Physics;11/21/2006, Vol. 125 Issue 19, p194303
Academic Journal
Studies of wave packet dynamics often involve phase-selective measurements of coherent optical signals generated from sequences of ultrashort laser pulses. In wave packet interferometry (WPI), the separation between the temporal envelopes of the pulses must be precisely monitored or maintained. Here we introduce a new (and easy to implement) experimental scheme for phase-selective measurements that combines acousto-optic phase modulation with ultrashort laser excitation to produce an intensity-modulated fluorescence signal. Synchronous detection, with respect to an appropriately constructed reference, allows the signal to be simultaneously measured at two phases differing by 90°. Our method effectively decouples the relative temporal phase from the pulse envelopes of a collinear train of optical pulse pairs. We thus achieve a robust and high signal-to-noise scheme for WPI applications, such as quantum state reconstruction and electronic spectroscopy. The validity of the method is demonstrated, and state reconstruction is performed, on a model quantum system—atomic Rb vapor. Moreover, we show that our measurements recover the correct separation between the absorptive and dispersive contributions to the system susceptibility.


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