Digitally controlled laser frequency stabilization for a ring laser using saturated absorption

Parinya Udommai, Matthew Harvey, Andrew James Murray

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A digital system for controlling the frequency of a continuous wave (CW) ring laser is described. The system utilizes Doppler-free absorption to steer the laser onto a resonance peak within a vapor cell and can hold the laser at this frequency for long periods of time using active feedback. The vapor cell is immersed in a sinusoidally varying magnetic field that produces a feedback signal by exploiting the Zeeman effect so that the laser frequency does not need to be dithered to achieve lock. A bias field can also be applied to adjust the frequency over several MHz while maintaining lock. This is advantageous for cold atom studies that require the laser to be red-detuned from resonance. Signals from the absorption cell and magnetic field are digitized and fed to a dedicated microcontroller that calculates and produces the feedback signal. The digital control system is described, and measurements are presented where the locked frequency is compared to data obtained from a commercial wavemeter. The locked frequency standard deviations ranged from 250 to 450 kHz within a 1 h period. The Allan deviations of the locked frequency had the best stability at a value of 6 × 10−11 in a 10 s averaging period. The locking system described here has application in experiments that require very stable laser frequency control and can also be used for regular recalibration of wavemeter parameters. The design can easily be adapted to control different CW laser systems and hence can be used for a range of atomic targets.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)073004
JournalReview of Scientific Instruments
Issue number7
Early online date15 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2021


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