Level-crossing resonances on open atomic transitions in a buffered Cs vapor cell: Linewidth narrowing, high contrast, and atomic magnetometry applications

D. V. Brazhnikov, V. I. Vishnyakov, A. N. Goncharov, E. Alipieva, C. Andreeva, E. Taskova

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The ground-state Hanle effect (GSHE) in alkali-metal atomic vapor using a single circularly polarized light wave underlies one of the most reliable and simple techniques of modern atomic magnetometry. This effect causes a narrow (subnatural-width) resonance in the light wave intensity passing through the vapor cell. The GSHE-based sensors typically operate in the so-called spin-exchange relaxation-free (SERF) regime to reduce the resonance linewidth. However, this regime requires a relatively high temperature of vapors (approximately equal to 150∘C), leading to high heat release and power consumption of the sensor head. In addition, without applying special measures, the SERF regime significantly limits the dynamic range of measurements. Here we study a pump-probe scheme involving a single elliptically polarized light wave and a polarimetric detection technique. The wave is in resonance with two adjacent optical transitions in the cesium D1 line (λ≈894.5 nm) due to their overlap in the presence of a buffer gas (130 Torr neon). Using a small (V≈0.1cm3) glass vapor cell, we demonstrate the possibility to observe subnatural-width resonances with a high contrast-to-width ratio (up to 45%/mG) in low-temperature (60∘C) operation due to strong light-induced circular dichroism in the medium. Based on the Λ scheme of atomic energy levels, we obtain explicit analytical expressions for the shape of the resonance line. The model reveals a linewidth narrowing effect due to openness of the level scheme. The observed bright features are unusual for magneto-optical atomic spectroscopy as openness is commonly considered to be an undesirable effect that degrades resonance characteristics. Measuring the noise voltage, we estimate the sensitivity of the magnetic-field measurements to be 1.8 pT/Hz with a sensitivity of 60 fT/Hz in the photon-shot-noise limit. In general, the results contribute to the theory of GSHE resonances and also can be applied to development of a low-temperature high-sensitivity miniaturized magnetic-field sensor with an extended dynamic range.

Original languageEnglish
Article number013113
JournalPhysical Review A
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022




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