We demonstrate an optically controlled waveplate at ∼1323 nm using the 5S1/2-5P1/2-6S1/2 ladder transition in a Rb vapor cell. The lower leg of the transitions represents the control beam, while the upper leg represents the signal beam. We show that we can place the signal beam in any arbitrary polarization state with a suitable choice of polarization of the control beam. Specifically, we demonstrate a differential phase retardance of ∼180 degrees between the two circularly polarized components of a linearly polarized signal beam. We also demonstrate that the system can act as a Quarter Wave plate. The optical activity responsible for the phase retardation process is explained in terms of selection rules involving the Zeeman sublevels. As such, the system can be used to realize a fast Stokesmetric imaging system with a speed of ∼3 MHz. When implemented using a tapered nano fiber embedded in a vapor cell, this system can be used to realize an ultra-low power all-optical switch as well as a Quantum Zeno Effect based all-optical logic gate by combining it with an optically controlled polarizer, previously demonstrated by us. We present numerical simulations of the system using a comprehensive model which incorporates all the relevant Zeeman sub-levels in the system, using a novel algorithm recently developed by us for efficient computation of the evolution of an arbitrary large scale quantum system.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics