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Journal of the Optical Society of America

Journal of the Optical Society of America

  • Vol. 52, Iss. 1 — Jan. 1, 1962
  • pp: 31–36

Optical Properties of a Continuous Helium-Neon Optical Maser

DONALD R. HERRIOTT  »View Author Affiliations

JOSA, Vol. 52, Issue 1, pp. 31-36 (1962)

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A continuous optical maser has been operated at five wavelengths in the near infrared. Such a maser oscillator consists of a medium having optical amplification at the wavelength of interest and a Fabry-Perot interferometer as a resonant cavity.

The optical amplification is provided by maser action in a discharge through a mixture of helium and neon gas. The Fabry-Perot interferometer is constructed within the gas volume using two very flat, and highly reflecting, parallel, silica plates.

The transmission of the Fabry-Perot plates, although small, allows a beam to pass through each end window, with four milliwatts of continuous output power in the strongest transition at 1.153-µ wavelength.

Examination of the beam shows that it is almost diffraction limited for its one-centimeter diameter. The spectral line shape at each transition is made up of three or more components each less than a few hundred cycles in width separated by the spacing of orders in the interferometer.

DONALD R. HERRIOTT, "Optical Properties of a Continuous Helium-Neon Optical Maser," J. Opt. Soc. Am. 52, 31-36 (1962)

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  1. A. Javan, W. R. Bennett, Jr., and D. R. Herriott, Phys. Rev. Letters 6, 106 (1961).
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