Abstract

Rigrod theory was used to model outcoupled power from a low-gain laser with good accuracy. For a low-gain overtone cw HF chemical laser, Rigrod theory shows that a higher medium saturation yields a higher overall overtone efficiency, but does not necessarily yield a higher measurable power (power in the bucket). For low-absorption–scattering loss overtone mirrors and a 5% penalty in outcoupled power, the intracavity flux and hence the mirror loading may be reduced by more than a factor of 2 when the gain length is long enough to saturate the medium well. For the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign overtone laser that has an extensive database with well-characterized mirrors for which the Rigrod parameters g0 and Isat were firmly established, the accuracy to which the reflectivities of high-reflectivity overtone mirrors can be deduced by using measured mirror transmissivities, measured outcoupled power, and Rigrod theory is approximatly ±0.07%. This method of accurately deducing mirror reflectivities may be applicable to other low-gain laser systems that use high-reflectivity mirrors at different wavelengths. The maximum overtone efficiency is estimated to be approximately 80%–100%.

© 1993 Optical Society of America

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