Abstract

Grating resonators are not characterized by a single cavity length, and thus the cavity-mode spacing cannot simply be obtained from the standing-wave pattern. This problem is studied in a Littrow grating cavity with geometric ray tracing and a result of the scalar diffraction theory for the phase of a plane wave diffracted at a grating. The round-trip phase in the cavity is considered, and it is shown that a grating cavity may be modeled by a tilted-mirror Fabry–Perot cavity. The tilt magnitude depends linearly on the wavelength deviation from the resonant Littrow wavelength, and the mirror separation, LC, is equal to the grating-cavity length at the center of the aperture. The model shows that the cavity axial mode separation may be determined from the standard expression, c/2LC. An effect of finesse decrease and mode broadening, which are linearly dependent on wavelength deviation from the central Littrow wavelength, are predicted. A passive grating cavity was experimentally studied with an interferometric method and a tunable laser to demonstrate the discussed hypotheses.

© 1994 Optical Society of America

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