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Proceedings Paper

Simple approach to laser frequency stabilization
Author(s): Andreas C. Kuhnert; Serge Dubovitsky
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Paper Abstract

We describe a simple approach to laser frequency stabilization for the metrology subsystem for NASA's StarLight mission, a space-based separated-spacecraft stellar interferometer. The current design of the laser frequency stabilization is based on monitoring the transmitted light through a reference cavity. Currently our free-running lasers do not meet the frequency stability requirements of the mission (100 Hz/root(Hz) between 1 and 1000 Hz) because of the up to 600 m length difference in the two arms of the interferometer. We need additional three orders of magnitude reduction of the frequency noise power spectral density in that frequency regime to meet the 11 nm accuracy requirement for the metrology system. Because we need only a modest improvement in the frequency stability, we plan to use a simple transmit/reflect architecture in which the laser frequency is locked to one side of the cavity resonance peak. The frequency stabilization system measures the transmitted light portion of a Fabry-Perot cavity and compares it to a stable reference voltage to generate the feedback signal. This signal is controlling the laser frequency using the NPRO laser PZT and crystal temperature actuators, therefore keeping the transmitted light level on the photo detector constant. This is equivalent to keeping the laser frequency stable. Because this system measures the transmitted light level it is sensitive to laser power fluctuations. One remedy to this problem is to monitor the reflected light from the cavity as well and use the ratio transmitted/reflected as the sensor signal. The residual frequency noise in our system was measured with respect to a stabilized laser light that was frequency stabilized using Pound-Drever-Hall stabilization.

Paper Details

Date Published: 26 February 2003
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 4852, Interferometry in Space, (26 February 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.460712
Show Author Affiliations
Andreas C. Kuhnert, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Serge Dubovitsky, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4852:
Interferometry in Space
Michael Shao, Editor(s)

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