Ring laser dynamics
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
The departure of the behaviour of large ring laser gyros from the ideal is examined. A detailed description of the experimental operation of large ring lasers is provided along with several new innovations in equipment layout, data collection and especially in data reduction. The limits on gyro performance due to noise are investigated. A review of literature regarding the fundamental limit placed on gyro resolution is provided. This limit is due to spontaneous emission in the gain medium of the laser and it is demonstrated that our ring lasers approach this quantum limit. Two entirely independent methods for evaluating the quantum noise induced linewidth are demonstrated to agree well. One of the methods, which uses a second order autoregressive model, is able to make accurate linewidth estimates in sub-second gate times. A complex model is proposed which accounts for specific observed light scattering phenomena within a ring laser. This model is compared with dual beam data taken from C-I and is able to describe frequency shifts and waveform distortion accurately. The model also performs favourably when describing locking profiles for low rotation rates and externally induced perimeter modulation. When locked to an external signal the ring laser is found to be an extremely sensitive low frequency vibration detector. The commissioning of a very large (14 m perimeter) prototype ring laser gyro, GO, is described along with a comparison with the smaller ( 4 m perimeter) gyros C-I and C-II. This prototype has proven to be an invaluable testing ground for designs and techniques to be used on a proposed high precision 16 m perimeter gyro named the Grossring (G).