Laser induced nonlinear absorption profiles in a three-level system have been recorded to study the effect of elastic collisions upon optical coherences. In our particular system, the signal is due to a pure double-quantum term, where we have separated the effect of phase-interrupting collisions from the effect of velocity-changing collisions. Experimental results show that the effect of velocity-changing collisions is very small, and that broadening of the signal is due to phase-interrupting collisions mainly. We are able to determine the increase of the decay rate of the coherent superposition (the “coherence”) of two levels of same parity [Dγ 13/dp=(6.5±1) MHz/Torr] and an upper limit for the mean velocity change (ũ≲5m/s).
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Cahuzac, P., LeGouët, J.L., Toschek, P.E. et al. Collisional effects upon optical coherences: Experimental study in a xenon three-level system. Appl. Phys. 20, 83–88 (1979). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00901791