Abstract

We report a source of tunable laser radiation for high-precision molecular spectroscopy in the 2.6– 4.1-µm spectral region. Laser light from a CO overtone laser is mixed with microwaves, generating tunable sidebands of ~1 mW of power. We achieve very high absolute frequency accuracy by frequency-offset locking the CO laser to a CO<sub>2</sub> laser secondary frequency standard. The uncertainty of the laser frequency is less than 30 kHz (Δν/ν=3×10<sup>-10</sup>) , and the laser linewidth is of the order of 100 kHz. This tunable and ultrastable laser system is suitable for very accurate molecular spectroscopy and metrology in a most interesting wavelength region. We demonstrate an application of the system to saturated-absorption spectroscopy of a rovibrational transition of carbonyl sulfide.

© 1998 Optical Society of America

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