The Laser, a Self-Organizing System
In the last few decades laser systems have frequently been discussed as multi-component systems (see figure 1.2 in chapter 1). A laser system is the paradigm of a self-organizing system, i. e. a multi-component system which is able to produce more or less complex patterns on a macroscopic level when control parameters cross critical values. Such systems are very often called synergetic systems, and this shall also be done here. In the context of laser theory self-organization means that only by changing the pump parameter, which is the control parameter, more or less complex field (light) patterns arise. For example, a lasing state occurs. But not only monochromatic oscillations, irregular motions like chaos are observable, too. Due to the fact that a light field can be decomposed by Fourier’s method, a laser system is a multi-component system in the sense that it consists of many molecules and in the sense that a correlated light field very often can be decomposed into a large number of modes. Considering laser systems means that now systems far from thermodynamic equilibrium shall be considered. In this chapter a short summary of essential facts of the deterministic and statistical laser physics will be given. The far-reaching phenomenon of self-organization will then be discussed. In this context the slaving principle od synergetics shall also be considered.
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