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Finite-aperture waveguide-laser resonators

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2 Author(s)
Degnan, J. ; NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, USA ; Hall, D.R.

A general theory of finite-aperture waveguide-laser resonators is developed which represents the external reflectors by matrices which couple linearly polarized waveguide modes having the same azimuthal symmetry. The theory allows the determination of resonator efficiency, resonator frequencies, and laser near- and far-field patterns. Computations of the coupling loss for the fundamental waveguide mode as a function of mirror curvature, separation, and aperture are in good agreement with recent infinite-aperture calculations in the limit of large apertures and indicate three low-loss configurations: 1) large radius of curvature mirrors close to the guide; 2) "large" radius of curvature mirrors centered at the guide entrance: and 3) generally smaller curvature mirrors separated by half their curvature from the guide entrance. The importance of higher order waveguide modes in determining laser output power and far-field patterns is demonstrated experimentally and compared to theoretical predictions. Design guidelines for the construction of high-efficiency CO2, CO, and He-Ne waveguide-laser resonators are summarized in tabular form.

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Quantum Electronics, IEEE Journal of  (Volume:9 ,  Issue: 9 )