The processes of parametric amplification and oscillation in a medium with cubic polarization is investigated in parametric approximation.
For the case of amplification the threshold power of the pump wave is calculated. The influence of a finite phase mismatching and of the initial phases on the amplification process is discussed. For larger values of mismatching a periodical change between amplification and depletion may appear.
For the cases of a single resonant oscillator (for the signal wave only), a double resonant oscillator (for both signal and idler wave) and a double resonant oscillator with the pump wave reflected at the second mirror the threshold power of the pump wave and the rise time are calculated. Characteristic differences between four-photon and three-photon parametric oscillators are discussed.
A numerical estimation of the threshold power for some media with nonlinear susceptibilities known from literature leads to the conclusion that the realization of a four-photon parametric oscillator should be possible.
In the appendix we discuss the influence of diffraction, focussing, birefrigence, nonstationarity and depletion of the pump wave on the studied process as well as the conditions under which these effects can be neglected.