Abstract

Knowledge of the diffraction losses in higher-order modes of large optical cavities is essential for predicting three-mode parametric photon–phonon scattering, which can lead to mechanical instabilities in long-baseline gravitational wave detectors. We explore different numerical methods in order to determine the diffraction losses of the higher-order optical modes. Diffraction losses not only affect the power buildup inside the cavity but also influence the shape and frequency of the mode, which ultimately affect the parametric instability gain. Results depend on both the optical mode shape (order) and the mirror diameter. We also present a physical interpretation of these results.

© 2007 Optical Society of America

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