Abstract

Bistability of the transverse configuration of the optical field is found for a helium–neon laser oscillating in the TEM01* hybrid optical-resonator mode. Optically induced switching between the mirror-symmetric field patterns occurs when a fraction of the spatially rotated output field is reinjected into the laser resonator. These phenomena are described theoretically with laser equations modeling the mutual interaction of the two first-order transverse modes of the optical resonator. The experimentally observed bistability and switching of the field patterns is in full qualitative agreement with the theoretical results.

© 1990 Optical Society of America

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