Sequences for controlling laser excitation with femtosecond three-pulse four-wave mixing
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Three-pulse four-wave mixing (FWM) is used here to study and control laser excitation processes. For general laser excitation processes, after a molecule interacts resonantly with a laser pulse, the molecule has a probability of being in the ground or in the excited state. Control over this process depends on the phase and amplitude of the electric fields that interact with the molecular system. Here we show how three-pulse FWM can be used to control the excitation of iodine molecules. Depending on the time delay between the first two pulses, the observed signal reflects the dynamics of the ground or excited state. A theoretical formalism based on the density matrix formulation is presented and solved for a four-level system. Experiments are found to be in excellent agreement with the theory. The influence of linear chirp on three-pulse FWM experiments is explored. Spectrally dispersed three-pulse FWM is found to be extremely useful for studying the effect of chirp on laser excitation ...of molecular systems. Experimental demonstrations of these effects are included.