We present an experimental investigation of the energy statistics of the linear polarization components of pulses from a Nd:YAG laser that is repetitively Q-switched with an acousto-optic modulator. Varying the modulator-induced diffraction losses leads to changes in the pulse polarization state and the energy statistics of the polarization components. For conventional Q-switching there is no laser oscillation during the low-Q intervals, and we find that the orthogonal components of the pulses can display large relative energy fluctuations even though the total pulse energy is quite stable. In the prelase mode, a weak continuous-wave background seeds the Q-switched pulses and results in the emission of highly linearly polarized, single-longitudinal-mode pulses with small relative energy fluctuations.
© 1996 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: January 17, 1996
Revised Manuscript: April 12, 1996
Published: October 20, 1996
Thomas Crawford, Christopher Lowrie, and John R. Thompson, "Prelase stabilization of the polarization state and frequency of a Q-switched, diode-pumped, Nd:YAG laser," Appl. Opt. 35, 5861-5869 (1996)