Observation of quantum destructive interference in inelastic two-wave mixing

Phys Rev Lett. 2007 Feb 23;98(8):083604. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.98.083604. Epub 2007 Feb 23.


Using room-temperature 87Rb atoms we demonstrate a quantum destructive interference between two one-photon excitation pathways in an inelastic two-wave mixing scheme that corresponds to the "strong-storage and weak-retrieval" of an optical field. This destructive interference is fundamentally different from the usual electromagnetically induced transparency because it is critically dependent on the generation and propagation of a wave-mixing field. We also show that contrary to the common belief, the maximum atomic coherence in general does not lead to the maximum mixing-wave conversion efficiency.