Abstract

We show that, when an atom prepared in a high Rydberg state is one-photon ionized by a laser, a near resonance with some lower-lying state permits the formation of a nondecaying dark state of the coupled laser–atom system. This dark state traps population in an amount that increases to some upper limit as the laser radiation used becomes stronger. Thus the dark state formed causes a decrease in the Rydberg-atom ionization with increasing laser intensity, i.e., stabilization, which survives even for long times. This long-time stabilization is described by a simple zero-pole formula, and the physical meaning of the term long time is explained. We estimate, for model situations, the laser frequencies that ensure dark-state formation and maximum ionization suppression. The laser pulse intensity and duration that are required for the observation of the dark state are evaluated.

© 1995 Optical Society of America

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