J. Phys. IV France
Volume 135, October 2006
Page(s) 59 - 66
Publié en ligne 23 novembre 2006
Neuvième colloque sur les lasers et l'optique quantique
C. Chardonnet et G. Millot
J. Phys. IV France 135 (2006) 59-66

DOI: 10.1051/jp4:2006135009

Intrinsic optical bistability at atomic and molecular scale

O. Guillot-Noël and P. Goldner

Laboratoire de Chimie de la Matière Condensée de Paris, UMR-CNRS 7574, ENSCP, 11 rue Pierre et Marie Curie, 75231 Paris Cedex 05, France

(Published online 23 November 2006)

A general model for intrinsic optical bistability is presented for atomic or molecular systems which can be decomposed into two weakly interacting subsystems. It is shown that optical bistability should occur when the interaction between the two subsystems fluctuates faster than the characteristic time of the interaction. The validity of the model is demonstrated in the case of magnetic bistability of conduction electrons. It is extended in the infrared or visible range with pairs of rare earth ions and rare earth-transition metal ions systems.

© EDP Sciences 2006