We initially discuss the theory of three-level systems using the dressed state formalism. One of the dressed states, containing a ground state and a Rydberg state, does not couple with the probe laser; thus, the medium becomes transparent to the latter. This phenomenon is known as electro- magnetically induced transparency (EIT) and this dressed state is known as a Rydberg dark state. We show that EIT can be used to extract the reduced dipole matrix element for transitions to a Rydberg state. However, a prob- lem with three-level Rydberg EIT in a vapour cell is the occurrence of space charges caused by photoelectric ionisation of Rb metal deposited inside the cell. To avoid this problem, we consider adding a third laser resonant with a fourth level. This is to avoid using the laser whose wavelength is less than the threshold wavelength. In cold atoms, the effect of the third laser is to split the usual EIT resonance into a doublet. In thermal atoms, we observe narrow features due to electromagnetically induced absorption and electro- magnetically induced transparency in the Doppler-free configuration. Next we consider the action of a far off-resonance radio frequency (rf) field in the three-level system. We demonstrate the formation of rf-dressed EIT reso- nances in a thermal Rb vapour and show that such states exhibit enhanced sensitivity to dc electric fields compared to their bare counterparts. Fitting the corresponding EIT profile enables precise measurements of the dc field in- dependent of laser frequency fluctuations. We further investigate the theory of rf-dressed Rydberg EIT using the Floquet approach in order to understand the formation of the sideband structure of the Rydberg state. We find that if the time scale of the rf interaction is much shorter than that of the system evolution and decoherence, the sideband structure is well resolved. We also show that the intermediate state exhibits a sideband structure, induced by the Rydberg state, when the Rabi frequency of coupling laser is larger than twice the modulation frequency. Finally we consider resonant microwave cou- pling between the Rydberg states which leads to an Autler-Townes splitting of the EIT resonance in cold atoms. This splitting can be employed to vary the group index by ±10^5 allowing independent control of the absorptive and dispersive properties of the medium, i.e., one can switch the transparency of the medium or control the group velocity of a pulse propagation by tuning on and off the microwave field
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