Abstract

A resonator with toroidal mirrors is described. This resonator behaves like an off-axis unstable confocal resonator in one transverse dimension and like an on-axis concave–convex stable resonator in the other orthogonal dimension. Some experimental results are reported for a fast flow high power cw-CO2 laser whose transverse cross section is restricted in the stable-resonator direction. These cavities allow an output laser beam with a fully illuminated cross section which is well suited for focusing. Moreover, the fraction of the available laser power which may be concentrated in the central lobe of the focal plane intensity distribution is 2.5–4.5 times higher than other unstable resonators with similarly restricted modal volumes. Finally the alignment requirements are examined.

© 1981 Optical Society of America

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