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Laser phase and frequency stabilization using an optical resonator


We describe a new and highly effective optical frequency discriminator and laser stabilization system based on signals reflected from a stable Fabry-Perot reference interferometer. High sensitivity for detection of resonance information is achieved by optical heterodyne detection with sidebands produced by rf phase modulation. Physical, optical, and electronic aspects of this discriminator/laser frequency stabilization system are considered in detail. We show that a high-speed domain exists in which the system responds to the phase (rather than frequency) change of the laser; thus with suitable design the servo loop bandwidth is not limited by the cavity response time. We report diagnostic experiments in which a dye laser and gas laser were independently locked to one stable cavity. Because of the precautions employed, the observed sub-100 Hz beat line width shows that the lasers were this stable. Applications of this system of laser stabilization include precision laser spectroscopy and interferometric gravity-wave detectors.

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Drever, R.W.P., Hall, J.L., Kowalski, F.V. et al. Laser phase and frequency stabilization using an optical resonator. Appl. Phys. B 31, 97–105 (1983).

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