Abstract

We present an experimental investigation of the energy statistics of the linear polarization components of pulses from a Nd:YAG laser that is repetitively Q-switched with an acousto-optic modulator. Varying the modulator-induced diffraction losses leads to changes in the pulse polarization state and the energy statistics of the polarization components. For conventional Q-switching there is no laser oscillation during the low-Q intervals, and we find that the orthogonal components of the pulses can display large relative energy fluctuations even though the total pulse energy is quite stable. In the prelase mode, a weak continuous-wave background seeds the Q-switched pulses and results in the emission of highly linearly polarized, single-longitudinal-mode pulses with small relative energy fluctuations.

© 1996 Optical Society of America

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