We present a unique external cavity diode laser system that can be auto-locked with reference to atomic and molecular spectra. The vacuum-sealed laser head design uses an interchangeable base-plate comprised of a laser diode and optical elements that can be selected for desired wavelength ranges. The feedback light to the laser diode is provided by a narrow-band interference filter, which can be tuned from outside the laser cavity to fineadjust the output wavelength in vacuum. To stabilize the laser frequency, the digital laser controller relies either on a pattern-matching algorithm stored in memory, or on first or third derivative feedback. We have used the laser systems to perform spectroscopic studies in rubidium at 780 nm, and in iodine at 633 nm. The linewidth of the 780-nm laser system was measured to be ∼500 kHz, and we present Allan deviation measurements of the beat note and the lock stability. Furthermore, we show that the laser system can be the basis for a new class of lidar transmitters in which a temperature-stabilized fiber-Bragg grating is used to generate frequency references for on-line points of the transmitter. We show that the fiber-Bragg grating spectra can be calibrated with reference to atomic transitions.
H. C. Beica, A. Carew, A. Vorozcovs, P. Dowling, A. Pouliot, B. Barron, and A. Kumarakrishnan, "An auto-locked diode laser system for precision metrology," Proc. SPIE 10191, Laser Radar Technology and Applications XXII, 101910K (Presented at SPIE Defense + Security: April 12, 2017; Published: 5 May 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2262211.
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