Abstract

We developed a system for measurements of power spectra of transmitted light intensity fluctuations, in which the extraneous noise, including shot noise, is reduced. In essence, we just apply light, measure the power of the transmitted light, and derive its power spectrum. We use this to observe the spontaneous noise spectra of photon atom interactions. Applying light with frequency modulation, we can also observe the spontaneous noise reflecting the coherence between the hyperfine levels in the excited state. There are two main novel components in the measurement system, the noise reduction scheme and the stabilization of the laser system. The noise reduction mechanism can be used to reduce the shot noise contribution to arbitrarily low levels through averaging, in principle. This is combined with differential detection to keep unwanted noise at low levels. The laser system is stabilized to obtain spectral width below 1 kHz without high frequency (10MHz) noise. These methods are described systematically and the performance of the measurement system is examined through experimental results.

© 2014 Optical Society of America

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