Abstract

In this Letter, we demonstrate a method to combine a molecular iodine absolute frequency reference with a high-finesse optical cavity in a single laser to take advantage of the frequency stability properties of both systems at different time scales. The result is a laser exhibiting the long-term and short-term stability levels of the iodine frequency reference and optical cavity, respectively. The method uses frequency offset side-band locking and an acousto-optical modulator driven ac-coupled servo-loop to correct the iodine’s short-term frequency fluctuations. Experimental results show cavity-limited stability at 1 Hz of ${10^{- 15}} {1}/\sqrt {{\rm Hz}}$ and iodine stability below 10 mHz of ${10^{- 13}} {1}/\sqrt {{\rm Hz}}$. In terms of the Allan deviation, this corresponds to stability levels close to the ${10^{- 15}}$ at 1 s and ${10^{- 14}}$ for observation times ${\gt}{100}\;{\rm s}$.

© 2021 Optical Society of America

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