Spectral consequences that result from using birefringent media with broadband gain inside of laser cavities containing polarizing elements are described. We show that the laser intensity is modulated as a function of the output frequency unless the cavity elements are carefully aligned so that their polarization axis coincides with a principal optical axis of the gain medium. Analysis of the tuning characteristics of a birefringent polarization-dependent gain medium is exploited to provide a simple method for line narrowing the laser output. By introduction of an intracavity birefringent compensator the narrow-band output can be continuously tuned. Experimental results for alexandrite lasers are presented.
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