The influence of the geometric relationship between laser pump and mode distributions on the performance of low-gain lasers has been analyzed. By considering cases in which the pump size is varied for a constant mode size and the mode size is varied for a constant pump size, a figure of merit has been defined through which laser performance can be optimized. The analysis shows that for any value of the pump radius R0, the figure of merit is a maximum when w, the 1/e radius of the Gaussian resonator mode, is approximately equal to R0.
© 1981 Optical Society of America
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