Abstract

An all-optical microwave frequency standard based on coherent population trapping (CPT) in 85Rb is developed. The CPT resonances are detected by an ordinary edge-emitting diode laser in a simple optical setup. A buffer-gas mixture is carefully optimized to yield a narrow linewidth and a reduced temperature dependence of the resonance frequency. With the developed system we are able to measure ultranarrow optically induced hyperfine CPT resonances at <20 Hz, which is in good agreement with the linewidth calculated from experimental parameters. The frequency of an RF-signal generator has been stabilized to the CPT resonance between the two mF=0 magnetic sublevels. The relative frequency stability (square root of Allan variance) follows a slope of 3.5×10-11 τ-1/2 (1 s<τ<2000 s). The best stability of 6.4×10-13 is reached at an integration time of τ=2000 s. This stability is sufficient for many high-precision applications. Frequency-shift measurements were made to evaluate the frequency dependencies on the operation parameters.

© 2003 Optical Society of America

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