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The optical loss of whispering gallery modes of resonantly excited microresonator spheres is determined by optical lifetime measurements. The phase-shift cavity ring-down technique is used to extract ring-down times and optical loss from the difference in amplitude modulation phase between the light entering the microresonator and light scattered from the microresonator. In addition, the phase lag of the light exiting the waveguide, which was used to couple light into the resonator, wasdoi:10.1364/oe.16.013158 pmid:18711554 fatcat:4ibwxy6afndy3bfgluqcqcrb4a