This book provides a comprehensive introduction to the theoretical and experimental studies of atomic optical bistability and multistability, and their dynamical properties in systems with two- and three-level inhomogeneously-broadened atoms inside an optical cavity. By making use of the modified linear absorption and dispersion, as well as the greatly enhanced nonlinearity in the three-level electromagnetically induced transparency system, the optical bistablity and efficient all-optical switching can be achieved at relatively low laser powers, which can be well controlled and manipulated. Until now, the rapid rate of progress in applications of multilevel systems in cross-disciplinary field has made it difficult to newcomers to the field to obtain a broad overview of this topic. This monograph will serve the purpose.
Atomic Optical Bistability in Two-Level Systems; Controlling Optical Bistability with Three-Level Atoms inside the Optical Cavity; Optical Multistability; From Dynamical Instability and Period-Doubling to Chaos with Three-Level Atoms inside an Optical Cavity; Controlled All-Optical Switching; Dynamical and Noise Behaviors in an Atomic Optical Bistable System; Conclusion and Outlook.