Abstract

We determine the pulse energy fluctuations of vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers by measuring the number of photoelectrons produced when a laser pulse is incident upon a photodetector. We obtain probability distributions for the number of photoelectrons produced by the total pulse energy, as well as distributions produced by the energy in each of the two orthogonal laser polarizations. We find that the noise of the laser increases when each new laser mode comes above threshold and that the individual polarization outputs are noisier than the total output, which indicates negative correlations between the energies in the two polarizations. We also find that, while the statistics of the total output are Gaussian, this is not always true of the individual polarizations.

© 1999 Optical Society of America

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