Laser Spectroscopy of Atomic Systems (Course Overview)

Copyright © 2009 Krishna Myneni

Classes:  1-10   11-20   21-29 


This course deals with the interaction of laser fields with atomic ensembles. In addition to advantages provided by lasers over conventional methods of spectroscopy of atoms and molecules, the interaction of intense, coherent optical fields with these systems induces a rich set of new resonant phenomena. First, we will introduce the classical description of interaction of atoms with optical fields, and cover spectral line broadening effects which are relevant in both conventional spectroscopy and laser spectroscopy: natural linewidth, transit time effect, collisional broadening, and Doppler broadening. We will then adopt a semi-classical approach, in which the driving optical field is described classically, to determine the quantum-mechanical time evolution of an atom or ensemble of thermal atoms. Various phenomena such as strong-field absorption (saturation, resonance-broadening), spectral hole burning, optical pumping, a.c. Stark shift, amplification without inversion, coherent population trapping, stimulated Raman transitions, and narrow resonant phenomena will be covered. These phenomena have technological applications which include high-precision frequency references (clocks), inertial and magnetic-field sensors, quantum information processing, and medical imaging. Experimental techniques for observing and utilizing these phenomena will be discussed. These include Doppler-free saturated-absorption spectroscopy, co-propagating pump-probe spectroscopy, and the optical-RF double-resonance method.

From the main text (Demtröder), we will cover selected topics in chapters (3rd ed) 2, 3, 5, 7, 10, 12, and 14. We will also cover selected topics from the auxiliary text (Steck, Part I).

Text and References

Textbook: W. Demtröder, Laser Spectroscopy, 3rd ed. or higher

Auxiliary text: Daniel Steck, Quantum and Atom Optics, available by free download.

Other references: