Abstract

A low-cost, potentially compact and robust microwave frequency reference can be constructed by use of vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers and coherent population-trapping resonances in Cs vapor cells. Fractional frequency instabilities of 2×10-11/τ/s have been achieved with a minimum of 7×10-13 at τ=1000 s. The performance of this device as a function of external parameters such as light intensity, optical detuning, and cell temperature is discussed. The dependence of the dark-line resonance signal on these parameters can be understood largely by means of a simple, three-level model. The short-term stability depends critically on the optical detuning, whereas the long-term stability is limited currently by line shifts due to drifts in cell temperature.

© 2001 Optical Society of America

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