Abstract

When an optical beam is incident into corner-cube reflector, it makes a large incidence angle with all three reflecting surfaces, and the polarization of the retroreflected beam depends greatly on the property of the reflecting surfaces. Knowledge of the polarization change is particularly important for a laser system with a polarization-dependent gain, such as a free-electron laser. By following the beam path in a corner cube reflector, one can study the depolarization effect by using 2 × 2 matrices. The results show that the change of polarization states is fairly sensitive to the phase difference between the s-wave and p-wave reflectivities of the surfaces. This sensitivity is greatly reduced if the two corner cubes in the resonator are oriented in the same direction.

© 1996 Optical Society of America

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