The significant variation of the laser output can be caused by feedback of a small part of laser beam, which is reflected or backscattered by a target at a long distance from laser source, into the laser cavity. This paper describes and analyzes theoretically and experimentally the influence of atmospheric turbulence on interference caused by laser feedback. The influence depends upon both the energy of feedback into the laser cavity and the strength of turbulence over a laser propagation path in the atmosphere. In the case of stronger energy of feedback and weak turbulence variance of fluctuation of the laser output can be enhanced by hundreds to thousands times. From our measurements and theoretical analysis it shows thatthese significant enhancements can result from the change of laser-cavity-modes which can be stimulated simultaneously and from beat oscillations between a variety of frequencies of laser modes. This also can result from optical chaos inside the laser resonator because a non-separable distorted external cavity can become a prerequisite for optical chaos.
© 2005 Chinese Optics Letters
Yiyi Sun and Zhiping Li, "Strong intensity variations of laser feedback interferometer caused by atmospheric turbulence," Chin. Opt. Lett. 1, 249-252 (2003)