Abstract

We present a painless, almost-free upgrade to present extended-cavity diode lasers (ECDLs) that improves the long-term mode-hop-free performance by stabilizing the resonance of the internal cavity to the external cavity. This stabilization is based on the observation that the frequency or amplitude noise of the ECDL is lowest at the optimum laser diode temperature or injection current. Thus, keeping the diode current at the level where the noise is lowest ensures mode-hop-free operation within one of the stable regions of the mode chart, even if these should drift due to external influences. This method can be applied directly to existing laser systems without modifying the optical setup. We demonstrate the method in two ECDLs stabilized to vapor cells at 852 and 895 nm wavelengths. We achieve long-term mode-hop-free operation and low noise at low power consumption, even with an inexpensive non-antireflection-coated diode.

© 2007 Optical Society of America

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