Abstract

The analysis of the stability of the polarization modes of a quasi-isotropic laser is extended. The theory predicts the existence of catastrophes in the hysteresis loop of polarization versus frequency. Allowance is made for a weak cavity birefringence. Experiments with a He–Ne laser that operates at 3.39 μm quantitatively confirm the dependence of the hysteresis on gain, including the previously unidentified catastrophes.

© 1991 Optical Society of America

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