Abstract

Parasitic lasing is examined with an emphasis on understanding and quantifying its effect on high-gain laser systems. Parasitic lasing is unwanted stimulated emission commonly found in high-gain optical systems. A general technique was developed that carefully retroreflects light back into the optical system, thereby creating an externally induced oscillator. Discrepancies between experimental data and threshold calculations for the externally induced oscillator are direct evidence of optical misalignment or of component performance problems. Any changes in the optical system can be directly measured as a change in threshold for the externally induced oscillator. This technique also enables one to align the system for maximum parasitic suppression with the system fully operational. Experimental data illustrating the utility of this technique are presented.

© 1992 Optical Society of America

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