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Opt Lett. 1996 Apr 1;21(7):453-5.

Ultimate Q of optical microsphere resonators.


We demonstrate the quality factor Q - (0.8 +/- 0.1) x 10(10) of whispering-gallery modes in fused-silica microspheres at 633 nm, close to the ultimate level determined by fundamental material attenuation as measured in optical fibers. The lifetime of ultimate Q is limited by adsorption of atmospheric water. Monitoring of adsorption kinetics with submonolayer sensitivity by Q factors and frequencies of whispering-gallery modes is demonstrated. The possibility of supermaterial Q's owing to intrinsic suppression of scattering losses in micropheres is discussed.

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