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Phase conjugate optics : on the theory, observation, and utilization of temporallly-reversed wavefronts as generated via nonlinear optical parametric interactions


Pepper, David M. (1980) Phase conjugate optics : on the theory, observation, and utilization of temporallly-reversed wavefronts as generated via nonlinear optical parametric interactions. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/03GZ-7C28.


This thesis describes theoretical and experimental aspects as well as potential applications in the field of coherent optics known as Phase Conjugate Optics (PCO). By utilizing nonlinear optical techniques, real-time phase or wavefront reversal of an arbitrary incident electromagnetic field can be realized. The nonlinear optical interaction gives rise to what is referred to as the "phase conjugate replica" (of the incident monochromatic wave) by performing the operation of complex conjugation upon the incident wave's complex spatial amplitude in real time. This conjugate wave, which is also designated as being a "time-reversed" wavefront, has the property of exactly retracing the path of the incident field. The ability of the conjugate wave to correct for inhomogeneous linear and nonlinear (intensity-dependent) phase aberrations as well as polarization distortions is proved. In particular, the theory of a degenerate four-wave nonlinear optical interaction as providing for the phase conjugator is presented. The effects of linear and nonlinear losses upon this interaction are discussed. The quantum mechanical origin of the third order nonlinear optical susceptibility responsible for the four-wave mixing process is analyzed for both single and two-photon allowed transitions in an atomic (or molecular) system. The analogies of four-wave mixing with that of real-time holography are discussed. The theory of phase conjugation via four-wave mixing in optical waveguides is presented.

Several of the above characteristics of conjugate fields are verified experimentally where phase conjugate fields via degenerate four-wave mixing were observed both in the bulk and in waveguide geometries, using carbon disulfide as the nonlinear medium. Amplified time-reversed wavefront generation as well as a mirrorless optical parametric mode of oscillation have been observed, both in agreement with theoretical predictions.

Potential applications of PCO are discussed in three different regimes: spatial-frequency, temporal-frequency, and spatial/temporal frequency domains. In the first category, the ability of PCO to correct for image modal dispersion in optical waveguides as well as the use of PCO to perform real-time coherent image processing and nonlinear microscopy is discussed. Temporal-frequency domain applications of PCO to be analyzed include the use of a nearly degenerate four-wave mixing process as a narrowband, wide field-of-view optical filter, capable of an amplified bandpass. The ability of a PCO interaction to renarrow (transform limited) optical pulses which have been temporally spread due to propagation through (group velocity) dispersive channels is analyzed. A potential application of PCO in the field of nonlinear laser spectroscopy is presented. Specifically, the scattering of a probe photon off a two-photon coherent state (created in a three-level atomic system) is shown to yield a conjugate replica. This conjugate replica is capable of providing sub-Doppler width resolution of the two-photon resonance. Further, in the transient regime, the optical free-induction decay of the conjugate wave is capable of yielding detailed spectral features of the three-level system such as the anharmonic contribution to a (nearly) harmonic potential. This technique, performed in the time domain, is known as [alpha]-beat spectroscopy.

Finally, a detailed theoretical and experimental study is presented of a laser resonator in which one (or both) of the mirror(s) comprising the optical cavity is replaced by a phase conjugate mirror (PCM). This novel resonator, which is termed a phase conjugate resonator (PCR), combines many of the spatial- and temporal-frequency aspects of PCO interactions discussed above. The stability criterion, transverse and longitudinal mode spectra, and the PCR output energy, as well as the frequency locking features of the laser modes to the PCM are discussed.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Atmospheric compensation; Auto-tracking of objects; Channel dispersion compensation; Four-wave mixing; Free-space optical communication; Lasers; Nearly degenerate four-wave mixing; Nonlinear optics; Optical fibers; Phase conjugation; Phase-conjugate resonators; Quantum electronics; Real-time holography; Real-time image processing; Time reversal
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Applied Physics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Yariv, Amnon
Thesis Committee:
  • Unknown, Unknown
Defense Date:9 January 1980
Non-Caltech Author Email:dmpepper (AT)
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-10122006-081036
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:4044
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:27 Oct 2006
Last Modified:21 Dec 2019 03:52

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PDF (Pepper_dm_1980.pdf) - Final Version
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