Abstract

A ray-optics model is developed to describe the spoiling of the high-Q (whispering gallery) modes of ring-shaped cavities as they are deformed from perfect circularity. A sharp threshold is found for the onset of Q spoiling as predicted by the Kolmogorov-Arnol’d-Moser (KAM) theorem of nonlinear dynamics. Beyond the critical deformation bc, Q ~ (bbc)−α,α ≈ 2.4–2.6. The escaping light emerges in certain specific directions, which may be predicted.

© 1994 Optical Society of America

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