Study of White Light Cavity Effect via Stimulated Brillouin Scattering Induced Fast Light in a Fiber Ring Resonator



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Techniques to control dispersion in a medium have attracted much attention due to potential applications to devices such as ring laser gyroscopes, interferometric gravitational wave detectors, data buffers, phased array radars and quantum information processors. Of particular interest is an optical resonator containing a medium with an anomalous dispersion corresponding to fast-light, which behaves as a White Light Cavity (WLC). A WLC can be tailored to improve the sensitivity of sensing devices as well as to realize an optical data buffering system that overcomes the delay-bandwidth product of a conventional cavity. This dissertation describes techniques to tailor the dispersion for fast-light in intracavity media. We present first a demonstration of fast-light in a photorefractive crystal. When placed inside a cavity, such a medium could be used to enhance the bandwidth of a gravitational wave detector. We then describe how a superluminal laser can be realized by adding anomalously dispersive medium inside a ring laser. We identify theoretical conditions under which the sensitivity of the resonance frequency to a change in the cavity length is enhanced by as much as seven orders of magnitude. This paves the way for realizing a fast-light enhanced ring laser gyroscope, for example. This is followed by the development of a novel data buffering system which employs two WLC systems in series. In this system, a data pulse can be delayed an arbitrary amount of time, without significant distortion. The delay time is independent of the data bandwidth, and is limited only by the attenuation experienced by the data pulse as it bounces between two high-reflectivity mirrors. Such a device would represent a significant breakthrough in overcoming the delay-time bandwidth product limitation inherent in conventional data buffers. We then describe our experimental effort to create a fiber-based WLC by using stimulated Brillouin scattering (SBS). Experimental results, in agreement with our theoretical model presented here, show that the WLC effect is small under the conditions supported by current fiber optic technology. We conclude that future efforts to induce a large WLC effect would require fibers with high Brillouin coefficient and low transmission loss, as well as optical elements with very low insertion loss and high power damage thresholds.