Abstract

We describe the use of a synchronously pumped ringdown cavity for measuring total optical losses, absorption and scattering, in thin optical films of arbitrary thickness on transparent substrates. This technique is compared with a single-pulse ringdown cavity regime and is shown to have a superior signal-to-noise ratio and resolution. We also provide an analysis of the factors affecting the resolution of the technique. Using this ringdown cavity pumped by a conventional mode-locked Ti:sapphire laser, we experimentally detect losses of only 58 ± 9 and 112 ± 9 parts per million in Ta2O5 and SiO2 films, respectively. To our knowledge, these are so far the lowest losses measured in thin films on stand-alone transparent substrates.

© 2003 Optical Society of America

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