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22 March 2007 Laser diode frequency stabilization by means of optical feedback and the magneto-optical effect
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A method of detecting gravitational-field variations using laser diodes is described. While the GRACE project is currently using the Doppler microwave system to measure the velocities of satellites flying in tandem, in the future, more advanced laser interferometry will be employed. It is hoped that we will be able to measure infinitesimal changes in their velocities, by using frequency-stabilized lasers rated at better than 10-13 in the square root of the Allan variance (&sgr;) for 1s < τ < 100s. As laser light sources, these devices will be notable for their compactness, energy efficiency, lightweight and high frequency-stability. This thesis describes the improved frequency stabilization obtained through the use of the magneto-optical effect of the Rb-D2 absorption line, and the adaptation of the PEAK method, in order to obtain a precise control signal. The method allows us to modulate the reference frequency of the stabilization system (the absorption spectrum of the Rb-D2 absorption line) by modulating the magnetic field applied to the Rb absorption cell, instead of the oscillation frequency of the laser diode. In so doing we are able to achieve a frequency stabilized laser diode (&sgr; = 9 x 10-12), while maintaining its linewidth, at an averaging time of 40s. In the next stage, we will test frequency-stabilized laser optical sources that are to be used in detecting and observing gravitational waves.
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T. Uehara, S. Maehara, T. Nimonji, T. Sato, M. Ohkawa, T. Maruyama, and S. Kawamura "Laser diode frequency stabilization by means of optical feedback and the magneto-optical effect", Proc. SPIE 6468, Physics and Simulation of Optoelectronic Devices XV, 64680D (22 March 2007);

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