Contact: Mark Esser
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Caption: In four-wave mixing, researchers send "seed" pulses of laser light into a heated cell containing atomic rubidium vapor along with a separate "pump" beam at a different frequency. The vapor amplifies the seed pulse and shifts its peak forward, making it superluminal. At the same time, photons from the inserted beams interact with the vapor to generate a second pulse called the "conjugate." Its peak, too, can travel faster or slower depending on how the laser is tuned and the conditions inside the gain medium.
Usage Restrictions: None
Related news release: First Light: NIST Researchers Develop New Way to Generate Superluminal Pulses