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Chin. Phys. B, 2010, Vol. 19(2): 024206    DOI: 10.1088/1674-1056/19/2/024206

Polarization switching in a quasi-isotropic microchip Nd:YAG laser induced by optical feedback

Ren Cheng(任成), Tan Yi-Dong(谈宜东), and Zhang Shu-Lian(张书练)
State Key Laboratory of Precision Measurement Technology and Instruments, Department of Precision Instruments & Mechanology, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
Abstract  This paper demonstrates the influence of external optical feedback on the polarization state of longitudinal modes in quasi-isotropic microchip Nd:YAG lasers. Under optical feedback, the polarization state of longitudinal modes in quasi-isotropic lasers relies strongly on the intracavity anisotropy loss and mode competition. When the intracavity anisotropy loss is small, external optical feedback can cause polarization switching and strong mode competition between two orthogonal linearly polarized eigenstates of one laser longitudinal mode, which leads to the distortion of laser intensity modulation waveform. The polarization switching is independent of the initial external cavity length. By increasing the intracavity anisotropy loss, one polarization eigenstate can be suppressed and the laser works in single-polarization state. A theoretical analysis based on the compound cavity model is presented, which is in good agreement with the experimental results. The results offer guidance to the development of laser feedback interferometers.
Keywords:  microchip Nd:YAG laser      optical feedback      polarization switching      laser feedback interferometer  
Received:  30 May 2009      Revised:  25 June 2009      Accepted manuscript online: 
PACS:  42.55.Rz (Doped-insulator lasers and other solid state lasers)  
  42.55.Sa (Microcavity and microdisk lasers)  
  42.65.Pc (Optical bistability, multistability, and switching, including local field effects)  
Fund: Project supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No.~30870662).

Cite this article: 

Ren Cheng(任成), Tan Yi-Dong(谈宜东), and Zhang Shu-Lian(张书练) Polarization switching in a quasi-isotropic microchip Nd:YAG laser induced by optical feedback 2010 Chin. Phys. B 19 024206

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