Abstract

The Doppler effect in Fabry–Perot cavities with suspended mirrors is analyzed. The Doppler shift, which is intrinsically small, accumulates in the cavity and becomes comparable with or greater than the linewidth of the cavity if the cavity’s finesse is high or its length is large. As a result, damped oscillations of the cavity field occur when one of the mirrors passes a resonance position. A formula for this transient is derived. It is shown that the frequency of the oscillations is equal to the accumulated Doppler shift and that the relaxation time of the oscillations is equal to the storage time of the cavity. Comparison of the predicted and the measured Doppler shifts is discussed, and application of the analytical solution for measurement of the mirror velocity is described.

© 2001 Optical Society of America

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