Abstract

We use balanced homodyne detection to characterize light from a diode laser as it crosses the threshold. We measure the single-time second-order correlation function g(2), and also extract the photon number distribution. Just above the laser threshold, we find that the measured g(2) exceeds the prediction of the semiclassical single-mode laser model. From the reconstructed photon number distributions, we conclude that this excess is due to emission from nonlasing modes. For higher pumping current, the light noise increases due to a different mechanism, possibly mode competition or mode partition noise.

© 2013 Optical Society of America

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