Dynamics of a stored Zeeman coherence grating in an external magnetic field
Published 2010-05-03Version 1
We investigate the evolution of a Zeeman coherence grating induced in a cold atomic cesium sample in the presence of an external magnetic field. The gratings are created in a three-beam light storage configuration using two quasi-collinear writing laser pulses and reading with a counterpropagating pulse after a variable time delay. The phase conjugated pulse arising from the atomic sample is monitored. Collapses and revivals of the retrieved pulse are observed for different polarizations of the laser beams and for different directions of the applied magnetic field. While magnetic field inhomogeneities are responsible for the decay of the coherent atomic response, a five-fold increase in the coherence decay time, with respect to no applied magnetic field, is obtained for an appropriate choice of the direction of the applied magnetic field. A simplified theoretical model illustrates the role of the magnetic field mean and its inhomogeneity on the collective atomic response.