High-contrast dark resonances on the D1 line of alkali metals in the field of counterpropagating waves

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A new method providing a significant increase in the amplitude and contrast of dark resonances is proposed. The method is based on the use of the σ+−σ configuration of polarized counterpropagating waves, D1-line excitation in alkali metal atoms, and small-sized cells. Qualitative considerations of the scheme are confirmed by the results of numerical calculations. A variant of a standing wave with homogeneous circular polarization is also discussed.