How weak is a weak probe in laser spectroscopy?
(Color online) Saturation characteristics of a Lorentzian (solid line) æand Gaussian (black dashed) absorption line.
(Color online) Population dynamics for a three-level atom for . There is optical pumping of the population from state (dashed) to state (dotted), although the excited state population (solid line) is always small.
(Color online) Probability distribution of the time of flight for a beam width of (solid line), (dotted), and (dashed).
(Color online) Optical layout. The combination of neutral density filters and half-wave plates B is used with the polarizing beamsplitter E to vary the power of the probe beam. The focal length lenses C and different lenses D are used in a telescope to vary the width of the probe beam in the cell.
(Color online) The line center absorption for the transition is plotted as a function of , with being the peak intensity at the entrance of the cell. Three beam widths were used: (circles), (triangles), and (squares). The theoretical prediction is shown as a dashed line.
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