Basics of Laser Physics pp 173-185 | Cite as

# Cavity Resonator

## Abstract

After a basic description of a laser in the first parts of the book, we now are dealing with the question how we can operate a laser. For this purpose, we will first discuss laser resonators. In this chapter, we treat the cavity resonator, which is a closed resonator. In the next chapter, we will study the open resonator.We solve the wave equation for electromagnetic radiation in a metallic rectangular cavity and determine the eigenfrequencies and the field distributions of modes of a cavity resonator. A cavity resonator has a low frequency cutoff. The cutoff frequency, determined by the geometry of the resonator, corresponds to a resonance of lowest order. The field of a mode is a standing wave.Standing waves composed of two waves that propagate in opposite directions along one of the three axes of a rectangular resonator are forbidden modes. A long resonator has modes that are composed of waves that propagate nearly parallel to the long axis. We express the frequency separation of these modes in a simple way by the use of the Fresnel number; we will later see that Fresnel numbers are important parameters of the theory of diffraction.We finally calculate the mode density that corresponds to frequencies, which are large compared to the cutoff frequency. This leads to the expression of the mode density we used in connection with the discussion of Planck’s radiation law and the Einstein coefficients (Sect.6.7).