This chapter gives a simple theory of the laser using the classical electromagnetic theory of Chap. 1 in combination with Chap. 5’s discussion of the interaction of radiation with two-level atoms. We consider arrangements of two or three highly reflecting mirrors that form cavities as shown in Fig. 6-1. Light in these cavities leaks out (decays to its 1/e value) in a time Q/v where v is the frequency of the light and Q is the cavity quality factor (the higher the Q the lower the losses). An active gain medium is inserted between the mirrors to compensate for the losses. In the simple cases we consider in this chapter, the electromagnetic field builds up until it saturates the gain down to the cavity losses. Chapter 10 considers some more complicated cases. Chapter 7 discusses a related cavity problem in which the medium in the cavity is not a gain medium, i.e., it has dispersion and/or absorption. This nonlinear cavity problem can lead to two or more stable output intensities for a given input intensity, and hence belongs to a class of problems called optical bistability. In the present chapter we also see a bistable configuration that involves active media, namely the homogeneously broadened ring laser.
KeywordsGaussian Beam Ring Laser Optical Bistability Cavity Loss Spatial Hole Burning
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Chow, W. W., J. B. Hambenne, T. J. Hutchings, V. E. Sanders, M. Sargent III, and M. O. Scully (1980), IEEE J. of Quant. Electronics QE-16, 918.Google Scholar
- Milonni, P. W. and Eberly, J. H. (1988), Lasers,John Wiley & Sons, New York. This gives a broad coverage of lasers at a more introductory level than the present book.Google Scholar
- Haken, H. (1970), Laser Theory, in Encyclopedia of Physics, XXV/2c, Ed. by S. Flügge, Springer-Verlag, Heidelberg. This gives a thorough compilation of the Haken school work up to 1970.Google Scholar
- Sagnac, C. G. (1913), C. R. Acad. Sci. 157, 708.Google Scholar
- Sargent, M. III, M. O. Scully, and W. E. Lamb, Jr. (1977), Laser Physics, Addison-Wesley Publishing Co., Reading, MA. This book gives considerably more laser theory than the present chapter following the work of the Lamb school.Google Scholar
- Sargent, M. III (1976), “Laser Theory” in Applications of lasers to atomic and molecular physics, Proc. Les Houches Summer School, eds. R. Balian, S. Haroche, and S. Liebermann, North-Holland, Amsterdam.Google Scholar
- Siegman, A. E. (1986), Lasers, University Science Books, Mill Valley, CA. Excellent reference on lasers with thorough coverage of resonator theory.Google Scholar
- Yariv, A. (1989), Quantum Electronics, 3rd Edition, John Wiley & Sons, New York. A standard reference in quantum electronics.Google Scholar
- For a review of ring laser gyros, see F. Aronowitz (1978), Proc. SPIE 157, 2, and W. W. Chow, J. B. Hambenne, T. J. Hutchings, V. E. Sanders, M. Sargent III, and M. O. Scully (1980), IEEE J. Quant. Electron. QE-16, 918.Google Scholar