Abstract

In standing-wave laser oscillators the field energy density periodically varies along the resonator axis and creates a complex refractive-index grating in the gain medium. This grating couples the originally independent counterpropagating waves of the individual axial cavity modes. The coupling induces a mode frequency shift that is a nonlinear function of the unperturbed mode frequency. The uneven shifts can give rise to a substantial broadening of the beat-note linewidth of the multi-axial-mode free-running laser and to a corresponding increase in the threshold intracavity power for self-starting passive mode locking. The theoretical results are in good qualitative and quantitative agreement with previously reported experimental observations and measurements.

© 1993 Optical Society of America

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