A Study of Ring Laser Gyroscopes
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
This thesis presents a study of a 1.6 metre square, helium-neon based ring laser gyroscope (denoted PR-1). This device is mounted on one of the internal walls of a high rise building. After optimisation a cavity Q of 2.9x10¹¹ and a sensitivity to rotation of approximately 10⁻³ of the background Earth bias was obtained. A detailed investigation of the single mode operating regime and multi-mode thresholds was undertaken and could be well accounted for with a simple model of the gain curves. A key feature of the operation of PR-1 is persistent longitudinal mode hopping. It is shown that by running the laser at selective high powers, one obtains CW mode locked operation thereby negating the influence of mode hopping and allowing for long time data acquisition. PR-1 was used to demonstrate oscillation of the Rutherford building on its second fundamental mode during an earthquake. In a separate investigation, a range of supermirrors were studied to determine the optimum configuration in a 4 by 4 metre ring laser. The set with the highest finesse prevailed despite the comparatively low light levels on the photo detectors. The geometric stability of the lasers was not found to be a significant factor.