Abstract

A novel technique is demonstrated for stabilizing an intra-cavity etalon used for single-mode selection in a laser cavity. By appropriate polarization analysis of the reflection from an etalon designed as a quarterwave plate an electronic signal can be derived, that enables the implementation of an electronic stabilization scheme. This scheme obviates the need for any modulation of the etalon in order to ensure stable single mode operation of a cw tunable laser.

© 2004 Optical Society of America

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References

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  1. A.L. Schawlow, �??Spectroscopy in a new light,�?? Rev. Mod. Phys. 54, 697-707 (1982)
    [CrossRef]
  2. C.S. Adams and E. Riis, �??Laser cooling and trapping of neutral atoms,�?? Prog. Quantum Electron. 21, 1-79 (1997).
    [CrossRef]
  3. E. A. Cornell and C. E. Wieman, �??Nobel Lecture: Bose-Einstein condensation in a dilute gas, the first 70 years and some recent experiments,�?? Rev. Mod. Phys. 74, 875-893 (2002).
    [CrossRef]
  4. W. Ketterle, �??Nobel lecture: When atoms behave as waves: Bose-Einstein condensation and the atom laser,�?? Rev. Mod. Phys. 74, 1131-1191 (2002).
    [CrossRef]
  5. C.E. Wieman and L. Hollberg, �?? Using diode lasers for atomic physics,�?? Rev. Sci. Instrum. 62, 1-20 (1991).
    [CrossRef]
  6. G. Holtom and O. Teschke, �??Design of a birefringent filter for high-power dye lasers,�?? IEEE J. Quantum Electron. QE-10, 577-579 (1974).
    [CrossRef]
  7. S.A. Collins and G.R. White, �??Interferometer laser mode selector,�?? Appl. Opt. 2, 448-449 (1963).
    [CrossRef]
  8. C.G. Aminoff and M. Kaivola, �??High power single-mode cw dye laser with Michelson mode selector,�?? Opt. Commun. 37, 133-137 (1982).
    [CrossRef]
  9. W. Vassen, C. Zimmerman, R. Kallenbach, and T.W. Hänsch, �??A frequency-stabilized titanium sapphire laser for high-resolution spectroscopy,�?? Opt. Commun. 75, 435-440 (1990).
    [CrossRef]
  10. C.S. Adams and A.I. Ferguson, �??Tunable narrow linewidth ultra-violet light generation by frequency doubling of a ring Ti:Sapphire laser using lithium tri-borate in an external enhancement cavity,�?? Opt. Commun. 90, 89-94 (1992).
    [CrossRef]
  11. T.W. Hänsch and B.J. Couillaud, �??Laser frequency stabilization by polarization spectroscopy of a reflecting reference cavity,�?? Opt. Commun. 35, 441-444 (1980).
    [CrossRef]
  12. A. Yariv, Optical Electronics, fourth edition (Saunders 1991).
  13. R.H. Abram, K.S. Gardner, E. Riis, and A.I. Ferguson, �??Narrow linewidth operation of a tunable optically pumped semiconductor laser,�?? To be published.

Appl. Opt.

IEEE J. Quantum Electron.

G. Holtom and O. Teschke, �??Design of a birefringent filter for high-power dye lasers,�?? IEEE J. Quantum Electron. QE-10, 577-579 (1974).
[CrossRef]

Opt. Commun.

C.G. Aminoff and M. Kaivola, �??High power single-mode cw dye laser with Michelson mode selector,�?? Opt. Commun. 37, 133-137 (1982).
[CrossRef]

W. Vassen, C. Zimmerman, R. Kallenbach, and T.W. Hänsch, �??A frequency-stabilized titanium sapphire laser for high-resolution spectroscopy,�?? Opt. Commun. 75, 435-440 (1990).
[CrossRef]

C.S. Adams and A.I. Ferguson, �??Tunable narrow linewidth ultra-violet light generation by frequency doubling of a ring Ti:Sapphire laser using lithium tri-borate in an external enhancement cavity,�?? Opt. Commun. 90, 89-94 (1992).
[CrossRef]

T.W. Hänsch and B.J. Couillaud, �??Laser frequency stabilization by polarization spectroscopy of a reflecting reference cavity,�?? Opt. Commun. 35, 441-444 (1980).
[CrossRef]

Prog. Quantum Electron.

C.S. Adams and E. Riis, �??Laser cooling and trapping of neutral atoms,�?? Prog. Quantum Electron. 21, 1-79 (1997).
[CrossRef]

Rev. Mod. Phys.

E. A. Cornell and C. E. Wieman, �??Nobel Lecture: Bose-Einstein condensation in a dilute gas, the first 70 years and some recent experiments,�?? Rev. Mod. Phys. 74, 875-893 (2002).
[CrossRef]

W. Ketterle, �??Nobel lecture: When atoms behave as waves: Bose-Einstein condensation and the atom laser,�?? Rev. Mod. Phys. 74, 1131-1191 (2002).
[CrossRef]

A.L. Schawlow, �??Spectroscopy in a new light,�?? Rev. Mod. Phys. 54, 697-707 (1982)
[CrossRef]

Rev. Sci. Instrum.

C.E. Wieman and L. Hollberg, �?? Using diode lasers for atomic physics,�?? Rev. Sci. Instrum. 62, 1-20 (1991).
[CrossRef]

Other

A. Yariv, Optical Electronics, fourth edition (Saunders 1991).

R.H. Abram, K.S. Gardner, E. Riis, and A.I. Ferguson, �??Narrow linewidth operation of a tunable optically pumped semiconductor laser,�?? To be published.

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Figures (4)

Fig. 1.
Fig. 1.

The principle of operation of the birefringent etalon demonstrated in an extra-cavity set-up. The input light is polarized at a slight angle to one of the optic axes of the quarter-wave etalon. An intensity component α2 is directed along axis 1 and a component β 2 along axis 2. The frequency of the laser or the tilt angle of the etalon are chosen such that the α 2 component is close to a reflection minimum for the etalon. At exact resonance the reflection of the component along axis 1 vanishes and the reflected light is linearly polarized along axis 2 (indicated by green arrow). Away from exact resonance the reflection is elliptically polarized with opposite helicity for frequencies above and below resonance (indicated by red and blue ellipses). A quarter-wave plate is inserted with its axes aligned with those of the etalon. The transmitted light is now linearly polarized. The polarization is along axis 2 at exact resonance and changes clockwise and counter-clockwise respectively above and below resonance. This linear polarization is analyzed with a polarizing beamsplitter, which is rotated by 45° with respect to the axes of the analyzing waveplate. On resonance an equal amount of light is transmitted to both detectors while the split is asymmetric for frequencies above and below resonance.

Fig. 2.
Fig. 2.

The calculated signal S for an etalon with (a) quarter-wave retardation and varying reflectivities R and (b) a 20% reflectivity and a retardation varying from λ/8 to 3 λ/8. The inset in (a) shows the dependence on the reflectivity of the gradient through the zero-crossing.

Fig. 3.
Fig. 3.

Experimental results obtained with an uncoated waveplate in an extra-cavity configuration as shown in Fig. 1. The sum and difference signals from the two detectors as well as the ratio of the difference and sum are shown as a function of the laser wavelength. The solid curves shown with the sum and difference signals are sinusoidal fits to the data, which are expected to provide good fits to the experimental data for a low reflectivity etalon. The solid curve shown with the ratio data is the theoretical prediction for an etalon with a 4% reflectivity.

Fig. 4.
Fig. 4.

Experimental results for a 25% reflecting etalon inserted in the cavity of a VECSEL. The ratio signal S defined by Eq. 6 is derived from the measured outputs of the polarization analyzer and shown as function of etalon tuning. The discontinuities correspond to longitudinal laser mode jumps.

Equations (7)

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A r ( δ , R ) = R 1 exp ( i δ ) 1 R exp ( i δ )
E ( t ) = ( α E 0 exp ( i ω t ) , β E 0 exp ( i ω t ) )
E r ( t , δ 1 , δ 2 , R ) = ( α E 0 A r ( δ 1 , R ) exp ( i ω t ) , β E 0 A r ( δ 2 , R ) exp ( i ω t ) )
E 1 ( t , δ 1 , δ 2 , R ) = E 0 2 [ α A r ( δ 1 , R ) + i β A r ( δ 2 , R ) ] exp ( i ω t )
E 2 ( t , δ 1 , δ 2 , R ) = E 0 2 [ α A r ( δ 1 , R ) i β A r ( δ 2 , R ) ] exp ( i ω t )
S ( δ 1 , δ 2 , R ) = I 2 ( δ 1 , δ 2 , R ) I 1 ( δ 1 , δ 2 , R ) I 2 ( δ 1 , δ 2 , R ) + I 1 ( δ 1 , δ 2 , R ) = 2 α β Im [ A r ( δ 1 , R ) A r * ( δ 2 , R ) ] α 2 A r ( δ 1 , R ) 2 + β 2 A r ( δ 2 , R ) 2
S = I 1 I 2 I 1 + I 2

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