Abstract

A frequency-stabilized 556-nm laser is an essential tool for experimental studies associated with <sup>1</sup>S<sub>0</sub>-<sup>3</sup>P<sub>1</sub> intercombination transition of ytterbium (Yb) atoms. A 556-nm laser light using a single-pass second harmonic generation (SHG) is obtained in a periodically poled MgO:LiNbO3 (PPLN) crystal pumped by a fiber laser at 1111.6 nm. A robust frequency stabilization method which facilitates the control of laser frequency with an accuracy better than the natural linewidth (187 kHz) of the intercombination line is developed. The short-term frequency jitter is reduced to less than 100 kHz by locking the laser to a home-made reference cavity. A slow frequency drift is sensed by the 556-nm fluorescence signal of an Yb atomic beam excited by one probe beam and is reduced to less than 50-kHz by a computer-controlled servo system. The laser can be stably locked for more than 5 h. This frequency stabilization method can be extended to other alkaline-earth-like atoms with similar weak intercombination lines.

© 2011 Chinese Optics Letters

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