Abstract

Intracavity absorption spectroscopy is an extremely sensitive method for measuring weak absorption lines; however, under certain conditions the absorption line profiles are very asymmetric. We have experimentally investigated this asymmetry as a function of a variety of absorber and laser parameters. Our results show that the asymmetry is significantly influenced by (1) the detection sensitivity of the laser, (2) the strength and width of the absorption line, and (3) the absorption path length. A simple model based on self-focusing and self-defocusing of the beam near the absorption line predicts such as asymmetry qualitatively but does not account for its magnitude.

© 1985 Optical Society of America

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