Ring laser gain media
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
This thesis details the design and construction of an experiment to measure the radial distribution of laser gain in a cylindrical Helium-Neon laser gain tube. This distribution is important as it can effect the transverse mode structure of a running ring laser. Earlier theoretical models of the distribution were not supported by high quality experimental data and fail to take into account some physical processes. A resolution of 8 parts per million in gain and 50 μm in radial position has been achieved. Gain distributions have been measured and are shown to be well modeled by a 0th order Bessel function with first roots at the tube walls and a central dip depending on excitation power; except for the region very near to the tube walls where a very rapid increase in gain has been observed. Hydrogen has been identified by spectroscopic analysis as the primary constituent of gas contamination and cause of the long term reduction in gain of large ring lasers. Additional work has been done to detect a proposed non-classical Lense-Thirring field around a spinning lead superconductor. It was found that any effect is at least 20 times smaller than predicted. Techniques and tools for data acquisition programming have been reviewed focusing on difficulties with coupling of user interface and application logic, monolithicity, difficulties with scripting and algorithm implementation.