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At the example of the D1 line of 87 Rb we analyze the experimental parameters which control the transient response of electromagnetically-induced transparency. Quantum coherent free induction decay is observed on timescales exceeding several milliseconds in a buffer gas vapor cell. Numerical solutions of the quantum master equation and approximate analytical solutions are tested and absolute comparisons of the transient timescales, the power broadening, the resonance contrast and frequencydoi:10.1103/physreva.85.013820 fatcat:uol7delj2rdrzncmrfk4irbnom