Quantum correlations by four-wave mixing in an atomic vapor in a nonamplifying regime: Quantum beam splitter for photons

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We study the generation of intensity quantum correlations using four-wave mixing in a rubidium vapor. The absence of cavities in these experiments allows to deal with several spatial modes simultaneously. In the standard amplifying configuration, we measure relative intensity squeezing up to 9.2 dB below the standard quantum limit. We also theoretically identify and experimentally demonstrate an original regime where, despite no overall amplification, quantum correlations are generated. In this regime, a four-wave mixing setup can play the role of a photonic beam splitter with nonclassical properties, that is, a device that splits a coherent state input into two quantum-correlated beams.