A method has been developed to mechanically implement the optical phase shift by adjusting the polarization of the pump and probe beams in an NMOR (nonlinear magneto-optical rotation) magnetometer as the proper phase shift is necessary to induce self-oscillation. This innovation consists of mounting the pump beam on a ring that surrounds the atomic vapor sample. The propagation of the probe beam is perpendicular to that of the pump beam. The probe beam can be considered as defining the axis of a cylinder, while the pump beam is directed radially. The magnetic field to be measured defines a third vector, but it is also taken to lie along the cylinder axis. Both the pump and probe beams are polarized such that their electric field vectors are substantially perpendicular to the magnet field. By rotation of the ring supporting the pump beam, its direction can be varied relative to the plane defined by the probe electric field and the magnetic field to be measured.

This work was done by David C. Hovde of Southwest Sciences and Eric Corsini of the University of California, Berkeley, for Goddard Space Flight Center. For further information, contact the Goddard Innovative Partnerships Office at (301) 286-5810. GSC-15608-1

Photonics Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the January, 2011 issue of Photonics Tech Briefs Magazine.

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