Abstract

The propagation of a weak optical pulse along the direction of an applied magnetic field in an atomic or molecular gas is investigated theoretically. When the Zeeman splitting is much smaller that the inhomogeneous linewidth σ, the Faraday rotation of the polarization plane depends linearly on optical depth and is independent of time for long pulses with tpσ−1 (as in the conventional Faraday effect) but depends linearly on time and is independent of optical depth for short pulses with tpσ−1; tp is the pulse duration. In the intermediate-pulse-width regime, frequency pushing causes the polarization plane to rotate at greater average speeds as the pulse propagates.

© 1994 Optical Society of America

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