Abstract

We study the power output and polarization state of a CO2 laser that contains both passive polarization-sensitive elements (Brewster plates) and an active phase-retarding electro-optic modulator (CdTe crystal). The theoretical threshold condition (i.e., the retardation required to extinguish the laser) is obtained from a cavity round-trip Jones matrix. We show that adding extra Brewster plates may be counterproductive in that the required retardation voltage increases. We calculated the output power, which depends on the saturated gain properties of the active media, by iterative modeling, with the elliptically polarized light propagated repeatedly around the cavity. We compare the theory with results from a folded rf-excited waveguide CO2 laser (Laser Ecosse Model CM3500). Theory and experiment are in fair agreement for low powers. As expected, at high powers there are extra difficulties in modeling the cavity behavior, probably because of distortions induced in and by the crystal.

© 1996 Optical Society of America

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