Abstract

Small-angle scattering due to mirror surface roughness is shown to couple the optical modes and deform the transmission spectra in a frequency-degenerate optical cavity. A simple model based on a random scattering matrix clearly visualizes the mixing and avoided crossings between multiple transverse modes. These effects are visible only in the frequency-domain spectra; cavity ringdown experiments are unaffected by changes in the spatial coherence, as they probe just the intracavity photon lifetime.

© 2005 Optical Society of America

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