The plane-wave theory for the transmittance and absorbtance of a perfectly aligned Michelson coupler with a dielectric slab beam splitter is presented. It is shown that the transmittance and absorbtance vary sinusoidally and in quadrature. As a result of this quadrature relationship, the maximum transmittance occurs at a setting of the translatable coupler mirror at which the absorbtance is not at an extremum, and so the curve of output power as a function of coupler setting is asymmetrical with respect to the setting yielding maximum transmittance. Experimental measurements of the output power of a far-infrared HCN laser as a function of the coupler setting confirm this asymmetry, which seems to have been overlooked or ignored in previous studies.
© 1996 Optical Society of America
Steven J. Cooper and Norman R. Heckenberg, "Plane-wave theory of a Michelson laser coupler with a dielectric slab beam splitter," Appl. Opt. 35, 1395-1398 (1996)