Longitudinal mode

Longitudinal Mode

Longitudinal mode

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A longitudinal mode of a resonant cavity is a particular standing wave pattern formed by waves confined in the cavity. The longitudinal modes correspond to the wavelengths of the wave which are reinforced by constructive interference after many reflections from the cavity's reflecting surfaces. All other wavelengths are suppressed by destructive interference.

A longitudinal mode pattern has its nodes located axially along the length of the cavity. Transverse modes, with nodes located perpendicular to the axis of the cavity, may also exist.

A common example of longitudinal modes are the light wavelengths produced by a laser. In the simplest case, the laser's optical cavity is formed by two opposed plane (flat) mirrors surrounding the gain medium (a plane-parallel or Fabry–Pérot cavity). The allowed modes of the cavity are those where the mirror separation distance L is equal to an exact multiple of half the wavelength, λ:
<math> L = q frac </math>
where q is an integer known as the mode order.

In practice, the separation distance of the mirrors L is usually much greater than the wavelength of light λ, so the relevant values of q are large (around 10<sup>5</sup> to 10<sup>6</sup>). The frequency separation between any two adjacent modes, q and q+1 , in a material that is transparent at the laser wavelength, are given (for an empty linear resonator of length L) by Δν:
<math>Deltanu = frac </math>
where c is the speed of...
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