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Bistable direction switching in an off-axis pumped continuous wave ruby laser

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2 Author(s)
R. S. Afzal ; Dept. of Phys., Brown Univ., Providence, RI, USA ; N. M. Lawandy

A report is presented of the observation of hysteretic bistable direction switching in a single-mode CW ruby laser system. This effect is only observed when the pump beam which is focused into the ruby rod is misaligned with respect to the rod end faces. At low pump powers, the ruby lases in a mode nearly collinear with the pump axis. At a higher pump power the ruby switches to a mode that is collinear with the rod end faces and preserves the original polarization. The effect is large enough to switch the beam by an angle equal to twice the diffraction angle. The observations show that under steady-state pumping, a CW ruby laser can exhibit bistable operation in its output direction and power. A calculation using the heat equation with two concentric cylinders with one as a heat source (pump laser) and the outer wall of the other held at 77K, gives an increase in core temperature of about 0.01 K. Therefore, the increase in temperature is not large enough to change the index of refraction to account for such large macroscopic effects.<>

Published in:

IEEE Journal of Quantum Electronics  (Volume:24 ,  Issue: 9 )