Empty Nonlinear Optical Resonators
Ever since the invention of the laser, there has been considerable interest in the study of nonlinear optical resonators (NOR). A NOR is any optical resonator containing at least one nonlinear element. In the laser, this element is the active, inverted medium, and in conventional optical bistability, it is passive absorptive or dispersive material. In these notes, we concentrate on two kinds of NOR’s that have received considerable attention in recent years. They distinguish themselves from more conventional ones by the fact that they are empty, one of the mirrors itself being the source of the nonlinear behaviour. The simplest such NOR is a radiation-pressure driven optical resonator, which we showed recently1 to exhibit optical bistability. Section 2–1 briefly reviews the physics of this system, and shows its analogy - and differences - with an optical resonator filled with a Kerr medium. We also discuss mirror confinement, i.e., the possibility of trapping a macroscopic mirror in the potential well due to the combined effects of radiation pressure and the restoring force of the mirror. An improved, three-mirror cavity version of the system2 is then discussed in Sec. 2–2, and a noise analysis including both the effects of white and ground noise is presented in Sec. 2–3.
KeywordsRadiation Pressure Optical Bistability Optical Resonator Pump Field Kerr Medium
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