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Theory of phase-conjugation by four-wave mixing in a waveguide

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1 Author(s)
Hellwarth, R.W. ; University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA

We show that one can generate the time-reversed replica of an "input" monochromatic, image-bearing beam by coupling it into a waveguide where it interacts with counterpropagating multimode "pump" waves of the same frequency. The nonlinear electric polarization density that is third order in the propagating electric fields in the guide medium generates the replica by the process of "four-wave mixing." We show also that the input beam can serve simultaneously as its own pump beam. If the frequency ν of the backward pump beam is different from the frequency ω to of the input beam, then the "phase-conjugate" to the input is generated at the entrance plane to the guide, and this radiates a replica of the input field, magnified by \omega /\nu , back along the input beam. The pump power required per resolution element to phase-conjugate a beam in a waveguide is orders-of-magnitude less than for the corresponding process with free (unguided) waves interacting in an infinite medium. Unlike the requirements for free waves, the pump waves do not need to be well aligned or single-mode to produce high fidelity in the replication process. Neither does the guiding structure or enclosed medium have to be precise in dimension or uniformity; the main requirements on the guiding structure being that it not attenuate the waves too heavily. Formulas are derived for the replication efficiency and fidelity in the various guided configurations. We also show how the process can be used: 1) to make a narrowband optical filter with a large acceptance solid angle; 2) to perform image-frequency conversion; 3) to obtain Raman and two-photon spectra of small samples; and 4) to achieve broadband optical amplification. We examine the conditions under which phase conjugation and these applications can be performed at several frequencies simultaneously. Limitations placed by the power-dependence of propagation constants are derived.

Published in:

Quantum Electronics, IEEE Journal of  (Volume:15 ,  Issue: 2 )