7 March 2014 Ultra-low noise optical phase-locked loop
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The relative phase between two fiber lasers is controlled via a high performance optical phase-locked loop (OPLL). Two parameters are of particular importance for the design: the intrinsic phase noise of the laser (i.e. its linewidth) and a high-gain, low-noise electronic locking loop. In this work, one of the lowest phase noise fiber lasers commercially available was selected (i.e. NP Photonics Rock fiber laser module), with sub-kHz linewidth at 1550.12 nm. However, the fast tuning mechanism of such lasers is through stretching its cavity length with a piezoelectric transducer which has a few 10s kHz bandwidth. To further increase the locking loop bandwidth to several MHz, a second tuning mechanism is used by adding a Lithium Niobate phase modulator in the laser signal path. The OPLL is thus divided into two locking loops, a slow loop acting on the laser piezoelectric transducer and a fast loop acting on the phase modulator. The beat signal between the two phase-locked lasers yields a highly pure sine wave with an integrated phase error of 0.0012 rad. This is orders of magnitude lower than similar existing systems such as the Laser Synthesizer used for distribution of photonic local oscillator (LO) for the Atacama Large Millimeter Array radio telescope in Chile. Other applications for ultra-low noise OPLL include coherent power combining, Brillouin sensing, light detection and ranging (LIDAR), fiber optic gyroscopes, phased array antenna and beam steering, generation of LOs for next generation coherent communication systems, coherent analog optical links, terahertz generation and coherent spectroscopy.
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Simon Ayotte, Simon Ayotte, André Babin, André Babin, François Costin, François Costin, "Ultra-low noise optical phase-locked loop", Proc. SPIE 8961, Fiber Lasers XI: Technology, Systems, and Applications, 89612J (7 March 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2039659; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2039659

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