RAY THEORY OF OPTICAL RESONATORS AND BEAM WAVEGUIDES.
POLYTECHNIC INST OF BROOKLYN N Y MICROWAVE RESEARCH INST
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Important characteristics of optical resonators and beam waveguides can be inferred from simple ray -optical considerations. The ray theory is susceptible of an extremely convenient algebraic formulation from which formal analogs in terms of electrical networks are evident. In laser applications of optical resonators the medium is certainly inhomogeneous and dispersive. A ray analysis is carried through for a resonator containing an inhomogeneous medium, and yields some very interesting general conclusions. The stability of the ray systems within the resonator, i.e., high and low loss configurations are discussed in terms of a generalization of Pierces criterion. It is shown that the law for the variation of the spot size within an empty optical resonator of the generalized confocal type may be deduced from geometric optical considerations. The variation is identified with the envelope of a system of rays within the resonator. When a resonator is filled with a convergent inhomogeneous medium, stable and unstable high and low loss configurations are shown to recur periodically with mirror separation. Author
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