28 September 2011 Coherence and frequency spectrum of a Nd:YAG laser: generation and observation devices
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Abstract
The coherence of a Nd:YAG CW laser is analyzed using a Michelson interferometer. Fringe contrast is measured as the path difference is varied by changing the length of one arm. The fringe contrast, as expected, is maximum when there is no path difference between arms. However, the fringe contrast does not decrease monotonically. It decreases and then increases several times before fading away. This behaviour is reminiscent of the fringe contrast depending on aperture and the uncovering of the Fresnel zones. In order to evaluate the mode structure it is necessary to consider the geometric parameters and Q factor of the cavity, the medium gain curve and the type of broadening. The non interference of waves principle requires that two (or more) modes competition or their interference can only take place though matter non linear interaction. Therefore, and in addition, it is important to consider the setup and type of detectors employed to monitor the frequency and/or time dependence. In as much as speckle is recognized as an interference phenomenon taking place at the detector plane, say the retina, the role of the sensing element in the detection of mode beats should also be decisive.
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M. Fernández-Guasti, H. Palafox, C. Roychoudhuri, "Coherence and frequency spectrum of a Nd:YAG laser: generation and observation devices", Proc. SPIE 8121, The Nature of Light: What are Photons? IV, 81211E (28 September 2011); doi: 10.1117/12.893194; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.893194
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