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Opt Express. 2010 Apr 26;18(9):9119-32. doi: 10.1364/OE.18.009119.

All-reflective coupling of two optical cavities with 3-port diffraction gratings.

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  • 1Albert-Einstein-Institut, Max-Planck-Institut für Gravitationsphysik and Leibniz Universität Hannover, Callinstr. 38, 30167 Hannover, Germany.


The shot-noise limited sensitivity of Michelson-type laser interferometers with Fabry-Perot arm cavities can be increased by the so-called power-recycling technique. In such a scheme the power-recycling cavity is optically coupled with the interferometer's arm cavities. A problem arises because the central coupling mirror transmits a rather high laser power and may show thermal lensing, thermo-refractive noise and photo-thermo-refractive noise. Cryogenic cooling of this mirror is also challenging, and thus thermal noise becomes a general problem. Here, we theoretically investigate an all-reflective coupling scheme of two optical cavities based on a 3-port diffraction grating.We show that power-recycling of a high-finesse arm cavity is possible without transmitting any laser power through a substrate material. The power splitting ratio of the three output ports of the grating is, surprisingly, noncritical.

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