When modulated through the harmonic motion of one mirror, the counterpropagating waves in a ring laser oscillate out of phase. A solution to the wave equation is presented that satisfies both the time-dependent boundary condition and the resonance condition. This theoretical prediction is confirmed experimentally to leading order in terms that are inversely proportional to the speed of light. The method of solution is applicable to arbitrary phase modulation at more than one spatial location in the cavity. Potential uses include the reduction of the locking problem in ring lasers and the testing of higher-order kinematic effects in the theory of relativity.
© 2002 Optical Society of America
(120.5050) Instrumentation, measurement, and metrology : Phase measurement
(140.3370) Lasers and laser optics : Laser gyroscopes
(140.3410) Lasers and laser optics : Laser resonators
(140.3430) Lasers and laser optics : Laser theory
(140.3560) Lasers and laser optics : Lasers, ring
Frank V. Kowalski, Josh Buhl, and Ben McMahon, "Asynchronously Modulated Waves in a Ring Laser Cavity," Appl. Opt. 41, 1098-1102 (2002)