Abstract

The intensity and noise properties of decay transients obtained in a generic pulsed cavity ringdown experiment are analyzed experimentally and theoretically. A weighted nonlinear least-squares analysis of digitized decay transients is shown that avoids baseline offset effects that induce systematic deviations in the estimation of decay rates. As follows from simulations not only is it a method that provides correct estimates for the values of the fit parameters, but moreover it also yields a correct estimate of the precision of the fit parameters. It is shown experimentally that a properly aligned stable optical resonator can effectively yield monoexponential decays under multimode excitation. An on-line method has been developed, based on a statistical analysis of the noise properties of the decay transients, to align a stable resonator toward this monoexponential decay.

© 2001 Optical Society of America

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