Ab initio multimode linewidth theory for arbitrary inhomogeneous laser cavities

A. Pick, A. Cerjan, D. Liu, A. W. Rodriguez, A. D. Stone, Y. D. Chong, S. G. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


We present a multimode laser-linewidth theory for arbitrary cavity structures and geometries that contains nearly all previously known effects and also finds new nonlinear and multimode corrections, e.g., a correction to the α factor due to openness of the cavity and a multimode Schawlow-Townes relation (each linewidth is proportional to a sum of inverse powers of all lasing modes). Our theory produces a quantitatively accurate formula for the linewidth, with no free parameters, including the full spatial degrees of freedom of the system. Starting with the Maxwell-Bloch equations, we handle quantum and thermal noise by introducing random currents whose correlations are given by the fluctuation-dissipation theorem. We derive coupled-mode equations for the lasing-mode amplitudes and obtain a formula for the linewidths in terms of simple integrals over the steady-state lasing modes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number063806
JournalPhysical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 4 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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