Abstract

We consider an active cavity defined by a geometrically symmetric ring of N mirrors, each of which may have an arbitrary radius. The beam steering imposed by all possible mirror misalignment parameters is shown to diverge if the radii of curvature Ri of the mirrors satisfy two constraints of the form |κN({Ri})| = 2. By comparison, the standard conditions for the stability of rays departing from the design path in a perfectly aligned ring have the form |κN({Ri})| ≤ 2, so that only approximately half of the critical radii for the latter stability conditions is also critical radii for the former. The detailed solutions identify the most sensitive misalignment parameters regarding beam steering. Certain beam steering effects vanish for resonators with κN = −2; this can be of practical importance, as, for example, the N = 2 confocal resonator.

© 1987 Optical Society of America

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