We systematically study the presence of narrow spectral features in a wide variety of random laser samples. Less gain or stronger scattering are shown to lead to a crossover from spiky to smooth spectra. A decomposition of random laser spectra into a set of Lorentzians provides unprecedented detail in the analysis of random laser spectra. We suggest an interpretation in terms of mode competition that enables an understanding of the observed experimental trends. In this interpretation, smooth random laser spectra are a consequence of competing modes for which the loss and gain are proportional. Spectral spikes are associated with modes that are uncoupled from the mode competition in the bulk of the sample.

D. Beggs
New J. Phys.

El-Dardiry, R. G. S, Mooiweer, R, & Lagendijk, A. (2012). Experimental phase diagram for random laser spectra. New J. Phys., 14(11, Article number: 113031), 1–11. doi:10.1088/1367-2630/14/11/113031