Coherent backscattering of light with nonlinear atomic scatterers
T. Wellens, B. Grémaud, D. Delande and C. Miniatura,
We study coherent backscattering of a monochromatic laser by a dilute gas of cold two-level atoms in the weakly nonlinear regime. The nonlinear response of the atoms results in a modification of both the average field propagation (nonlinear refractive index) and the scattering events. Using a perturbative approach, the nonlinear effects arise from inelastic two-photon scattering processes. We present a detailed diagrammatic derivation of the elastic and inelastic components of the backscattering signal for both scalar and vectorial photons. In particular, we show that the coherent backscattering phenomenon originates in some cases from the interference between three different scattering amplitudes. This is in marked contrast with the linear regime where it is due to the interference between two different scattering amplitudes. In particular we show that, if elastically scattered photons are filtered out from the photodetection signal, the nonlinear backscattering enhancement factor exceeds the linear barrier of 2, consistently with a three-amplitude interference effect.
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