Frequency comb-referenced narrow line width diode laser system for coherent molecular spectroscopy
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We analyze in detail the frequency noise properties of a grating enhanced external cavity diode laser (GEECDL). This system merges two diode laser concepts, the grating stabilized diode laser and the diode laser with resonant optical feedback, thus combining a large tuning range with an excellent short-term frequency stability. We compare the frequency noise spectrum of a GEECDL to that of a grating stabilized diode laser and demonstrate a 10-fold reduction of the frequency noise linear spectral density. The GEECDL is phase locked to a similar laser and to a fs-frequency comb with a servo loop providing an open-loop unity-gain frequency of only 237 kHz, which is a tenth of the bandwidth typically required for grating stabilized diode lasers. We achieve a residual rms phase error as small as 72 mrad (≈ 200 mrad) for stabilization to a similar laser (to the fs-frequency comb). We demonstrate that the novel diode laser can phase-coherently track a stable optical reference with an instability of 1.8×10-16 at 1 s. This laser system is well suited for applications that require phase locking to a low-power optical reference under noisy conditions. It may also be considered for the implementation of optical clock lasers.
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