Abstract

There is some uncertainty concerning the extent to which the light emitted by a ruby optical maser is polarized. Seven rubies were cut from the same boule but with different orientations. The polarization of the output was studied using an optical system and quartz biprism designed by Courtney-Pratt. The observed behavior may be specific to these particular crystals, but the study showed: 1. Polarization decreased with the angle between the C axis and the rod axis. 2. The light from a 0° ruby rod was polarized. At energies well above threshold there were found to be two planes of polarization mutually at right angles (in different parts of the crystal). 3. Although for each of the other crystals there existed a mean plane of polarization, there was some variation about this mean for light from different regions of the crystal. The variation was most pronounced in the low-angle crystals. 4. Light which was completely polarized was emitted by a relatively small area of the transmission face of the crystal. Light from remaining areas was unpolarized. 5. Light from the 90° crystal was completely plane polarized at the start of a run. The plane of polarization could be related to a simple pattern of emission on the crystal face. At the end of the run, the pattern had become complex and a high percentage of unpolarized light was present in the beam. 6. In all the crystals examined the amount of polarized light decreased with increasing pumping energy.

© 1964 Optical Society of America

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