Abstract

We demonstrate a robust method of stabilizing a diode laser frequency to an atomic transition. This technique employs the Zeeman shift to generate an antisymmetric signal about a Doppler-broadened atomic resonance, and therefore offers a large recapture range as well as high stability. The frequency of a 780-nm diode laser, stabilized to such a signal in Rb, drifted less than 0.5 MHz peak–peak (1 part in 109) in 38 h. This tunable frequency lock can be constructed inexpensively, requires little laser power, rarely loses lock, and can be extended to other wavelengths by use of different atomic species.

© 1998 Optical Society of America

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References

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  1. L. S. Cutler, “Frequency stabilized laser system,” U.S. patent3,534,292 (13October1970).
  2. C. E. Wieman, L. Hollberg, “Using diode lasers for atomic physics,” Rev. Sci. Instrum. 62, 1–20 (1991);K. B. MacAdam, A. Steinbach, C. Wieman, “A narrow-band tunable diode laser system with grating feedback and a saturated absorption spectrometer for Cs and Rb,” Am. J. Phys. 60, 1098–1111 (1992).
    [CrossRef]
  3. B. Cheron, H. Gilles, J. Havel, O. Moreau, H. Sorel, “Laser frequency stabilization using Zeeman effect,” J. Phys. III 4, 401–406 (1994).
  4. For a discussion of saturated absorption spectroscopy, see W. Demtröder , Laser Spectroscopy (Springer-Verlag, New York, 1996).
  5. We used the material with part number PSM1-250-3X36C from the Magnet Source, 607-T S. Gilbert St., Castle Rock, Colo. 80104, 1-800-525-3536. Although uniformity is not critical to stability, we minimized variations to 5% along the field axis of symmetry by spacing the inside rings closer together than the outer ones.

1994 (1)

B. Cheron, H. Gilles, J. Havel, O. Moreau, H. Sorel, “Laser frequency stabilization using Zeeman effect,” J. Phys. III 4, 401–406 (1994).

1991 (1)

C. E. Wieman, L. Hollberg, “Using diode lasers for atomic physics,” Rev. Sci. Instrum. 62, 1–20 (1991);K. B. MacAdam, A. Steinbach, C. Wieman, “A narrow-band tunable diode laser system with grating feedback and a saturated absorption spectrometer for Cs and Rb,” Am. J. Phys. 60, 1098–1111 (1992).
[CrossRef]

Cheron, B.

B. Cheron, H. Gilles, J. Havel, O. Moreau, H. Sorel, “Laser frequency stabilization using Zeeman effect,” J. Phys. III 4, 401–406 (1994).

Cutler, L. S.

L. S. Cutler, “Frequency stabilized laser system,” U.S. patent3,534,292 (13October1970).

Demtröder, W.

For a discussion of saturated absorption spectroscopy, see W. Demtröder , Laser Spectroscopy (Springer-Verlag, New York, 1996).

Gilles, H.

B. Cheron, H. Gilles, J. Havel, O. Moreau, H. Sorel, “Laser frequency stabilization using Zeeman effect,” J. Phys. III 4, 401–406 (1994).

Havel, J.

B. Cheron, H. Gilles, J. Havel, O. Moreau, H. Sorel, “Laser frequency stabilization using Zeeman effect,” J. Phys. III 4, 401–406 (1994).

Hollberg, L.

C. E. Wieman, L. Hollberg, “Using diode lasers for atomic physics,” Rev. Sci. Instrum. 62, 1–20 (1991);K. B. MacAdam, A. Steinbach, C. Wieman, “A narrow-band tunable diode laser system with grating feedback and a saturated absorption spectrometer for Cs and Rb,” Am. J. Phys. 60, 1098–1111 (1992).
[CrossRef]

Moreau, O.

B. Cheron, H. Gilles, J. Havel, O. Moreau, H. Sorel, “Laser frequency stabilization using Zeeman effect,” J. Phys. III 4, 401–406 (1994).

Sorel, H.

B. Cheron, H. Gilles, J. Havel, O. Moreau, H. Sorel, “Laser frequency stabilization using Zeeman effect,” J. Phys. III 4, 401–406 (1994).

Wieman, C. E.

C. E. Wieman, L. Hollberg, “Using diode lasers for atomic physics,” Rev. Sci. Instrum. 62, 1–20 (1991);K. B. MacAdam, A. Steinbach, C. Wieman, “A narrow-band tunable diode laser system with grating feedback and a saturated absorption spectrometer for Cs and Rb,” Am. J. Phys. 60, 1098–1111 (1992).
[CrossRef]

J. Phys. III (1)

B. Cheron, H. Gilles, J. Havel, O. Moreau, H. Sorel, “Laser frequency stabilization using Zeeman effect,” J. Phys. III 4, 401–406 (1994).

Rev. Sci. Instrum. (1)

C. E. Wieman, L. Hollberg, “Using diode lasers for atomic physics,” Rev. Sci. Instrum. 62, 1–20 (1991);K. B. MacAdam, A. Steinbach, C. Wieman, “A narrow-band tunable diode laser system with grating feedback and a saturated absorption spectrometer for Cs and Rb,” Am. J. Phys. 60, 1098–1111 (1992).
[CrossRef]

Other (3)

L. S. Cutler, “Frequency stabilized laser system,” U.S. patent3,534,292 (13October1970).

For a discussion of saturated absorption spectroscopy, see W. Demtröder , Laser Spectroscopy (Springer-Verlag, New York, 1996).

We used the material with part number PSM1-250-3X36C from the Magnet Source, 607-T S. Gilbert St., Castle Rock, Colo. 80104, 1-800-525-3536. Although uniformity is not critical to stability, we minimized variations to 5% along the field axis of symmetry by spacing the inside rings closer together than the outer ones.

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Figures (4)

Fig. 1
Fig. 1

Schematic of a DAVLL system. Here we show the entire beam passing through the lock, but in actuality, only a small amount of power is picked off from the main beam and enters the locking apparatus.

Fig. 2
Fig. 2

Oscilloscope trace of (a) the signal from a saturated absorption spectrometer and (b) the DAVLL signal, as the diode laser is scanned across Rb resonances with the PZT. A laser can be locked to either of the two circled zero crossings of the DAVLL signal. These features are due to the 87Rb F = 2 → F′ = 1, 2, 3 and the 85Rb F = 3 → F′ = 2, 3, 4 transitions. The frequency of the lock point can be tuned optically by rotating the quarter-wave plate, or electronically by adding an offset voltage to the signal.

Fig. 3
Fig. 3

Origin of the DAVLL signal shape. (a) A Doppler-broadened transition in Rb in the presence of no magnetic field. (b) The same transition, Zeeman shifted in a 100-G magnetic field, when circularly polarized light is incident on the vapor. (c) The same as (b), but with the opposite circular polarization. (d) The difference between (c) and (b) giving the DAVLL signal. In this idealized case, the arrow indicates that the off-resonant signal is zero.

Fig. 4
Fig. 4

Measured beat frequency between two DAVLL systems over a 38-h period. Variations in the beat frequency indicate the limits of the laser stability to be approximately 500 kHz peak–peak. These data show a stability of 27 kHz rms during an 11-h period at night when environmental factors such as room temperature and air currents are more stable. The discontinuities at the end of the run are due to incomplete shielding of the detection photodiodes from room lights. The run was stopped when a laser mode hopped, but after we adjusted the current to return the laser to the proper mode, it returned to the same frequency.

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