The influence of the anisotropic Zeeman effect on optical decoherence was studied for the 1.54 μm telecom transition in Er3+:Y2SiO5 using photon echo spectroscopy as a function of applied magnetic field orientation and strength. The decoherence strongly correlates with the Zeeman energy splittings described by the ground- and excited-state g factor variations for all inequivalent Er3+ sites, with the observed decoherence times arising from the combined effects of the magnetic dipole-dipole coupling strength and the ground- and excited-state spin-flip rates, along with the natural lifetime of the upper level. The decoherence time was maximized along a preferred magnetic field orientation that minimized the effects of spectral diffusion and that enabled the measurement of an exceptionally narrow optical resonance in a solid—demonstrating a homogeneous linewidth as narrow as 73 Hz.
Thomas Böttger, C. W. Thiel, R. L. Cone, and Y. Sun. Effects of Magnetic Field Orientation on Optical Decoherence in Er3+: Y2 SiO5. Phys. Rev. B 79, 115104 – Published 10 March 2009