We present a theoretical study of the interaction between light and a cold gasof three-level, ladder conﬁguration atoms close to two-photon resonance. In particular, weinvestigate the existence of collective atomic recoil lasing (CARL) instabilities in differentregimes of internal atomic excitation and compare to previous studies of the CARL instabilityinvolving two-level atoms. In the case of two-level atoms, the CARL instability is quenchedat high pump rates with signiﬁcant atomic excitation by saturation of the (one-photon)coherence, which produces the optical forces responsible for the instability and rapid heatingdue to high spontaneous emission rates. We show that in the two-photon CARL schemestudied here involving three-level atoms, CARL instabilities can survive at high pump rateswhen the atoms have signiﬁcant excitation, due to the contributions to the optical forces frommultiple coherences and the reduction of spontaneous emission due to transitions betweenthe populated states being dipole forbidden. This two-photon CARL scheme may form thebasis of methods to increase the effective nonlinear optical response of cold atomic gases.
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