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Rev Sci Instrum. 2007 Jul;78(7):073103.

Laser beam quality and pointing measurement with an optical resonator.

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  • 1Max-Planck-Institut für Gravitationsphysik (Albert-Einstein-Institut), 30167 Hannover, Germany.


We present a compact diagnostic breadboard that is based on an optical ring resonator for measuring beam quality and pointing of single-frequency continuous wave lasers at a wavelength of 1064 nm. To determine the beam quality of the coherent test beam, this optical resonator is used to perform a mode decomposition into Hermite-Gaussian modes. For our laser system, a power fraction in the fundamental Gaussian mode of 97.2%+/-0.2% was measured. Residual misalignment and mis-mode-matching to the resonator as well as the astigmatism and/or ellipticity of the test beam have been determined. Numerical simulations showed that measurements of the M(2) factor and transversal intensity distribution are not suitable for determining this power fraction. To measure the beam pointing, the fundamental mode of the optical resonator was used as a stable reference. The pointing of the test beam was measured with the differential wave front sensing technique up to Fourier frequencies of 1 kHz with a sensitivity to relative pointing of /epsilon/=1x10(-6)/sqrt[Hz]. Pointing measurements with an alternative method were performed and showed good agreement.

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