Abstract

The complexity of the dynamics and the correlation between patterns in counterpropagating beams in a confocal bidirectional photorefractive ring oscillator (BaTiO3 pumped by a He–Ne 632.8-nm laser) depend significantly on the Fresnel number of the resonator. When the Fresnel number is increased to more than ∼5, the patterns lose their correlation through first interleaving their bright and dark regions and then losing correlation altogether. The alternation of modal patterns for low Fresnel numbers of a well-aligned cavity is caused by changes in the cavity length and results from room-temperature changes or slow movement of a mirror, and it is consistent with predictions from numerical simulations. When it appears that a few transverse modal patterns are superposed to form an evolving pattern, there is typically an intermode beat frequency of tens of millihertz, regardless of whether the empty-cavity eigenfrequencies are nearly degenerate or separated by hundreds of megahertz.

© 1996 Optical Society of America

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