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Journal of the Optical Society of America

Journal of the Optical Society of America

  • Vol. 66, Iss. 6 — Jun. 1, 1976
  • pp: 525–529

Loss in unstable resonators

H. J. Landau  »View Author Affiliations

JOSA, Vol. 66, Issue 6, pp. 525-529 (1976)

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We discuss the integral operator AF which models the behavior of an unstable resonator having rectangular symmetry. Interest focuses on modes of the resonator that exhibit low loss for sizable values of the Fresnel number F; in the mathematical description, these correspond to eigenfunctions of AF with eigenvalues of large modulus. A serious obstacle to a theoretical understanding of these entities is immediately presented by the non-Hermitian nature of the operator, which puts the very existence of eigenfunctions in doubt. Moreover, as the equation is hard to handle numerically, direct computational evidence has been sparse. In this paper we remove some of the conceptual difficulty by introducing a notion of approximate eigenvalues and eigenfunctions which, we argue, model the physical problem equally well. We then prove that each λ with |λ| = 1 becomes an approximate eigenvalue of AF for F sufficiently large, and that the number of mutually orthogonal approximate eigenfunctions corresponding to λ grows at least linearly with √F. Interpreted in physical terms, this implies that for large Fresnel number, losses in the unstable resonator can be made arbitrarily low, but the resonator will not be capable of mode selection. These conclusions differ considerably from predictions contained in a recent paper on this subject.

© 1976 Optical Society of America

H. J. Landau, "Loss in unstable resonators," J. Opt. Soc. Am. 66, 525-529 (1976)

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  1. A. E. Siegman, and R. Arrathoon, "Modes in Unstable Optical Resonators and Lens Waveguides," IEEE J. Quantum Electron 3, 156 (1966).
  2. H. J. Landau, "On Szego's Eigenvalue Distribution Theorem and Non-Hermitian Kernels," J. d'Analyse Math. (Jerusalem) 28, 335–357 (1975).
  3. H. J. Landau, "On an Eigenvalue Equation of Laser Theory" (unpublished).
  4. E. C. Titchmarsh, Introduction to the Theory of Fourier Integrals (Oxford U.P., Oxford, 1948).
  5. P. Horwitz, "Asymptotic Theory of Unstable Resonator Modes," J. Opt. Soc. Am. 63, 1528–1543 (1973).

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