A quantum theory of degenerate four-wave mixing is presented in which the atomic medium consists of stationary four-level atoms, each with three degenerate excited states, and the interacting light beams are allowed to be in different states of polarization. This vector-field theory differs from the scalar-field theory of Reid and Walls [Phys. Rev. A 31, 1622 (1985)] in that there are new atomic variables in the Langevin equations which are related to the induced coherence between the upper atomic states. It is found, for the assumed set of atomic levels, that this seemingly different mechanism of four-wave-mixing gain does not circumvent the degrading effect of spontaneous emission on squeezing obtainable via degenerate four-wave mixing. The theory is applied to both forward and backward degenerate four-wave mixing with nearly collinear geometry, and specialized to the case in which the polarization states of the two pump modes are mutually orthogonal. It is found that for both forward and backward configurations, the range of pump intensity for which squeezing can be achieved in the vector-field case is larger than that in the scalar-field case, and the maximum amount of squeezing obtainable at a particular pump detuning is comparable in both cases.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics