Abstract

Population inversion on the 5D5/26P3/2 transition in rubidium atoms produced by cw laser excitation at different wavelengths has been analyzed by comparing the generated mid-infrared radiation at 5.23 μm originating from amplified spontaneous emission (ASE) and isotropic blue fluorescence at 420 nm. Using a novel method for detection of two-photon excitation via ASE, we have observed directional co- and counter-propagating emission at 5.23 μm. Evidence of a threshold-like characteristic is found in the ASE dependences on laser detuning and Rb number density. The power dependences of the backward- and forward-directed emission can be very similar; however, their spectral dependences are not identical. A new type of temporally and spatially coherent radiation is suggested.

© 2017 Optical Society of America

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