Abstract

We describe a balanced heterodyne detection method for a Sagnac interferometer that uses a polarization-dependent beam splitter. The signal and the local oscillator are orthogonally polarized components of a single laser beam, permitting the detection of the signal by subtraction of two photocurrents produced in appropriate polarization projections. Using this scheme, we experimentally demonstrate a phase measurement with a sensitivity of 9×10-10 rad/Hz. The measurement is robust in the presence of laser frequency noise, as a result of preserving the common-path nature of the Sagnac interferometer, and of laser-amplitude noise, as a result of balanced detection.

© 1997 Optical Society of America

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