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Optimizing a Highly Stable Diode Laser for Spectroscopy and Atom Trapping

Optimizing a Highly Stable Diode Laser for Spectroscopy and Atom Trapping

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Optimizing a Highly Stable Diode Laser for Spectroscopy and Atom Trapping

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  1. Optimizing a Highly Stable Diode Laser for Spectroscopy and Atom Trapping John E. Sohl Caleb Z. Trammell Weber State University Ogden, UT

  2. Overview • Brief History • What is an ECDL? • Carl Wieman’s ECDL design • Other ECDL designs • Our ECDL design • Results and current status

  3. History • Carl Wieman’s group, AJP papers: • 1992: A narrow-band tunable diode laser system with grating feedback, and a saturated absorption spectrometer for Cs and Rb. • 1995: Inexpensive laser cooling and trapping experiment for undergraduate laboratories. • Nobel Prizes: • 1997: Laser trapping • 2001: BEC • 1999: NSF workshops

  4. Current Status • Numerous papers on improved laser design since ~1999. • Moderate number of undergraduate laboratories doing saturated absorption. • A few doing atomic trapping. • Why? Not Easy and Laser Stability

  5. Goal: Wavelength Stability • These issues have been covered in our other paper today. • Cavity size (mode spacing and l or n) • Thermal mass and stability • Ease of construction and operation

  6. Laser Gain Profiles From: S.J.H. Petra, 1998

  7. Laser Design • Extended Cavity Diode Laser – ECDL • Feedback from the diffraction grating (G) forces the wavelength to a specific value.

  8. Other Designs 2000 1997 1998

  9. Our Design • Simple • Easy to align and assemble • Easy to build • Inexpensive • Low thermal mass • Short cavity

  10. Results and Current Status • Laser has been built and is being tested. • Earlier modifications have resulted in frequency stability of ~300 kHz (<1 part in ~108) for several hours at a time. (Wieman got 3.5 seconds.) • Expecting factor of 3 improvement with new design. • Should be operational in 2-3 days.