Abstract

Waveguide gas lasers (CO2 ones especially) continue to be widely used. We have previously studied simple resonator designs with plane mirrors close to each end of the waveguide. Here we examine theoretical predictions concerning hybrid waveguide/free-space resonators with square-bore guides and curved mirrors. We show how resonator mode losses vary as functions of guide length and width, guide-to-mirror distance, mirror radius of curvature, and mirror tilt. We have tested a 7-W cw rf-excited CO2 laser with unusually good near-TEM00 transverse-mode quality; it is one of many promising resonator geometries not covered by earlier published research. The common case 3 reflector, sometimes viewed as guaranteeing near-TEM00 mode performance, is shown to be alarmingly sensitive to small misalignments for certain guide geometries.

© 1995 Optical Society of America

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