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15 June 1998

Optics Communications 152 1998. 182188

Full length article

Frequency stabilization of a diode laser to Doppler-free spectrum of molecular iodine at 633 nm


H. Talvitie ) , M. Merimaa, E. Ikonen
Metrology Research Institute, Helsinki Uniersity of Technology, P.O. Box 3000, FIN-02015 Hut, Finland Received 27 January 1998; accepted 18 March 1998

Abstract We report on frequency stabilization of a diode laser to the hyperfine components of the P33. 6-3 and R127. 11-5 transitions of molecular iodine at the He-Ne laser wavelength of 633 nm. Single frequency operation and wavelength control of the diode laser in a compact form is obtained by employing weak optical feedback from an integrated microlens. The diode laser driven by an ultra low noise current supply provides nearly shot noise limited detection. A relative frequency stability of 5 = 10y12 is achieved at an integration time of 100 s. Harmonic distortion of the modulated output of the diode laser due to spurious optical feedback is considered to be the main effect limiting the day-to-day frequency reproducibility of 5 = 10y11. q 1998 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
PACS: 42.62.Fi; 42.55.Px; 42.62.Eh Keywords: Frequency stabilization; Laser spectroscopy; Diode laser

1. Introduction Frequency-stabilized lasers are key devices for the realization of the length unit. In practice, one of the most used radiation sources listed in the mise en pratique of the definition of the metre w1x is an iodine-stabilized He-Ne laser at 633 nm. The frequency of the He-Ne laser is stabilized to one of the hyperfine components of R127. 11-5 transition in the B-X system of 127 I 2 . When properly operated, these devices offer an absolute optical frequency standard with a relative uncertainty of 10y11. As diode lasers have recently become available at 633 nm, it has become attractive to take the advantage of their simplicity and compactness in the development of a portable frequency standard. The wavelength tunability of diode lasers allows also the use of iodine transitions that are stronger than the R127. 11-5 transition coincident with the He-Ne laser. In addition, diode lasers have very

E-mail: hannu.talvitie@hut.fi

low intrinsic intensity noise that can provide very sensitive detection. There are, however, several problems with diode lasers to overcome before they can be used as frequency standards. The available red diode lasers have generally a multi-mode spectrum with broad lines and a mode-hop limited wavelength tuning. Promising results have recently been achieved by stabilizing diode lasers to the Doppler-free spectrum of molecular iodine w26x. To improve the spectral and tuning properties of the diode laser several methods have been used including resonant optical feedback from a Fabry-Perot cavity at 793 nm w2x, injection locking at 657 nm w3x, and external cavity configuration with grating feedback at 637 nm w4x and at 633 nm w5,6x. Another approach to obtain single longitudinal mode operation and improved wavelength tuning of the diode laser is the use of weak optical feedback from a closely ; 100 mm. mounted surface w79x. The advantages of this method are simple implementation and a very compact structure. Improved wavelength tuning of the diode laser can be obtained by adjusting the distance between the

0030-4018r98r$19.00 q 1998 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved. PII S 0 0 3 0 - 4 0 1 8 9 8 . 0 0 1 6 6 - 7

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diode laser and the reflecting surface. A disadvantage is that the optical feedback is not strong enough to reduce the intrinsic linewidth of the diode laser. In this paper, we describe a compact and simple diode laser system that is stabilized to the Doppler-free spectrum of P33. 6-3 and R127. 11-5 transitions of molecular iodine 127 I 2 . at the wavelength of 633 nm. The laser source is based on a diode laser that employs weak optical feedback from an integrated microlens. We also show that sensitive detection can be achieved even though the laser linewidth is almost as broad as the detected iodine lines.
Fig. 2. Upper curve: Spectral density of the frequency modulation FM. noise of the diode laser. Lower curve: Spectral density of the relative intensity noise. The shot noise level of detection is calculated for the DC-photocurrent of the detector.

2. Experimental setup 2.1. Laser source The laser source used in this experiment is a commercially available 15-mW diode laser BlueSky Research PS010. operating near 635 nm. The diode laser package contains a virtual point source microlens w10x that is glued closely to the laser chip distance 30 mm.. A schematic layout of the microlens-coupled diode laser is shown in Fig. 1. The primary function of the microlens is to provide a circular, diffraction-limited output beam. In addition, even though the 250-mm thick microlens is anti-reflection coated R ; 0.8%., the outer surface of the lens reflects a small fraction of the beam back to the laser. This weak optical feedback produces additional wavelength dependent loss of the laser cavity period of 0.5 nm. and forces the laser to oscillate mainly in a single longitudinal mode w11x. The obtained side-mode suppression ratio is typically 2030 dB. The optical feedback from the microlens is too weak to increase the photon lifetime in the laser cavity and thus the intrinsic linewidth of the diode laser is not narrowed. Fortunately, a relatively long cavity optical length 3 mm. and high output power 15 mW. of the laser yield a linewidth that is suitable for this application. The linewidth is determined from the measured frequency modulation FM. noise of the laser shown in Fig. 2. The white FM noise level corresponds to a Lorentzian linewidth of about 2 MHz. This value is in good agreement with the calculated value of 1.8 MHz that can be derived using the

Fig. 1. Schematic drawing of a 635-nm diode laser with an integrated microlens.

modified Schawlow-Townes linewidth formula w12,13x with the values shown in Fig. 1 and a typical value for the linewidth enhancement factor of a s 5. In practice, the linewidth is slightly broadened due to 1rf-type FM noise to a value of about 3 MHz. The laser linewidth is narrow enough to enable detection of hyperfine lines of iodine, the widths of which are typically 4 MHz. The intrinsic intensity noise of diode lasers is very low. To avoid excess intensity noise and FM noise. due to injection current noise, a current supply w14x with extremely low noise of about 50 pArHz 1r2 is used. It should be noted that this value is well below the shot noise level of the used injection current of 70 mA. The measured relative intensity noise of the laser is shown in Fig. 2. The intensity noise reaches the white noise floor at 10 kHz and is typically only about 1 dB above the shot noise level of the detection. Wavelength tuning of the diode laser can be obtained by changing the temperature or injection current of the laser. Within one longitudinal mode the dependences are about y45 GHzrK and y2.4 GHzrmA. On a larger scale, the temperature tuning rate is y150 GHzrK 0.2 nmrK., which provides a wavelength tuning range of about 8 nm by changing the temperature from 0 to 408C. To reach the wavelength of 633 nm the diode laser is cooled to about 168C. The gaps in the wavelength tuning caused by mode hops can be covered by adjusting the distance between the diode laser and the microlens w8x. In practice, the distance adjustment is obtained by applying mechanical stress to the heatsink where the diode laser chip and the microlens are mounted. It is possible to select about ten different longitudinal modes within "0.4 nm at a time. The maximum required displacement of the microlens is about half of the wavelength, and thus the properties of the output beam remain practically unchanged w15x. By changing the injection current or the temperature of the laser it is possible to achieve a continuous frequency tuning of more than 30 GHz.

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3. Results and discussion

3.1. Linear absorption A linear absorption spectrum of molecular iodine Fig. 4. near the R127. 11-5 transition was recorded by detecting the transmitted intensity through the iodine cell. The frequency scan over 30 GHz was obtained by sweeping the temperature of the diode laser. The strongest lines are identified according to Ref. w6x. The region consists of several strong and well separated transitions that could be used for the purpose of frequency stabilization. An attractive transition is P33. 6-3 which is about 37 times stronger than R127. 11-5 and is only 1 GHz apart from the He-Ne frequency w1,5,6,16x. Part of the spectrum containing both P33. 6-3 and R127. 11-5 transitions is shown in Fig. 4b.. The transitions consist of 21 hyperfine components vertical lines. assigned as b 1 b 21 and a 1 a 21, respectively.

Fig. 3. Experimental setup to stabilize the diode laser frequency to a Doppler-free hyperfine component of molecular iodine. Abbreviations: LD laser diode, mL microlens, L lens, PD photodetector, PBS polarizing beamsplitter, BS beamsplitter, l r4 quarter-wave plate, and l r2 half-wave plate.

2.2. Doppler-free detection The Doppler-free hyperfine spectra of molecular iodine are detected using a collinear saturated absorption configuration. The experimental setup is shown in Fig. 3. The circular output beam of the microlens laser is collimated and directed through a Faraday optical isolator. The beam passes a 10-cm iodine cell as the saturating beam with an optical power of about 5 mW. The 1re 2-diameter and the peak intensity of the saturating beam are 0.8 mm and 1.6 Wrcm2 , respectively. A fraction 4%. of the beam is then reflected back as a probe beam. A polarizing beamsplitter and a quarter-wave plate are used to direct the probe beam to a photodetector and to improve optical isolation of the diode laser. The cold finger temperature of the iodine cell can be controlled and it is normally stabilized to 15.0 " 0.1.8C. The iodine cell is provided by Opthos Instruments, Inc. The Doppler-free hyperfine components are detected using the third harmonic lock-in technique. This method provides a negligible Doppler background and the possibility to modulate the laser frequency via the injection current. A modulation frequency 1 f . of 10 kHz and a modulation amplitude of about 7 MHz are used. The chosen modulation amplitude is relatively large because the hyperfine lines are broadened by the broad laser line. The modulation frequency is chosen so that the intensity noise at the 3 f detection frequency of 30 kHz has already reached the noise floor to obtain high signal-to-noise SrN . ratio. The third harmonic signal is detected using a lock-in amplifier. In order to lock the laser frequency, the output signal of the lock-in amplifier is fed back to the laser current via a PI-controller. A 1-kHz unity-gain bandwidth of the feedback loop is achieved.

Fig. 4. Linear absorption spectrum of iodine at 633.0 nm with a frequency span of a. 35 GHz and b. 2.5 GHz. The strongest transitions are identified by vertical lines in a.. The vertical lines in b. indicate the positions of the hyperfine components of P33. 6-3 and R127. 11-5 transitions. The frequency is given relative to the a 15 component of R127. transition. The cold finger temperature was 20.08C and the continuous absorption background of iodine is subtracted.

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3.2. Hyperfine spectrum The third harmonic signal of the hyperfine spectrum of the P33. 6-3 transition is shown in Fig. 5. The numbers from 1 to 21 refer to the assigned hyperfine components of b1 b 21. Due to the relatively large modulation amplitude of the laser 14 MHz peak-to-peak., some of the hyperfine components b5 , b6 , b11, b19 , b 20 . are only partially resolved and a doublet b 9 b10 . remains unresolved. The observed linewidth FWHM. of the hyperfine components is broadened by the laser linewidth and is about 8 MHz. The SrN ratio of the third harmonic signal was determined by measuring the root-mean-square rms. noise density around the 3 f signal with a FFT spectrum analyzer. A SrN ratio of 200 for a 1-Hz bandwidth is typically obtained for the P33. 6-3 transition. It should be noted that the signal shown in Fig. 5 consists of rms values of the third harmonic signal but the visual appearance of the noise is determined by the peak-to-peak values for a 10-Hz bandwidth.. We are also able to detect the hyperfine components of R127. 11-5 transition with a SrN ratio of about 20. The ratio of 10 between the SrN ratios differs from the value of 37 given by the line strengths, because the intensity noise is increased by a factor of about 3 when the laser frequency is tuned to the center of the Dopplerbroadened P33. transition. The main reason for this is attenuation of the main longitudinal mode of the laser that increases the intensity noise due to mismatch of the anticorrelation between the main laser mode and very weak side modes w17x. 3.3. Frequency stability To investigate the long term frequency stability of the diode laser system a beat frequency measurement was performed. An iodine-stabilized He-Ne laser locked to the a 15 component of R127. 11-5 was used as a reference. The beat signal was detected using an avalanche photode-

Fig. 6. Relative stabilities wsquare root of the Allan variance sy 2,t .x of the beat frequency between the diode laser and an iodine-stabilized He-Ne laser, when the diode laser is free running A., locked to the a 18 component of R127. 11-5 B., and locked to the b 21 component of P33. 6-3 C.. The dashed lines are estimates of frequency stability based on the signal-to-noise ratio of detection.

tector and analyzed with a RF-spectrum analyzer and a frequency counter. The frequency stability is shown in Fig. 6 as the square root of the Allan variance sy 2,t . of the relative frequency fluctuations. The relative frequency stability slope of the reference laser is approximately 1 = 10y11 ty1r2 up to an integration time of t s 3000 s and thus its contribution to the measurement results is small. Plot A. in Fig. 6 shows the frequency stability of the diode laser for free-running operation. The stability is nearly independent on the integration time corresponding to 1rf-type frequency fluctuation of the laser. The two other plots represent results when the diode laser was locked to the a 18 component of R127. 11-5 B. and to the b 21 component of P33. 6-3 C.. The ty1r2-slopes in B. and C. are due to white frequency noise. The Allan variance slopes can be estimated from

sy 2,t . f

kD n

n 0 SrN

ty1r2 ,

1.

Fig. 5. Hyperfine spectrum of the P33. 6-3 transition obtained by the third harmonic detection. Numbers 121 refer to components b1 b 21 , respectively. The frequency is given relative to the b 21component. The detection bandwidth is 10 Hz.

where D n is the linewidth of the hyperfine transition FWHM., n 0 is the laser frequency, SrN is the signal-tonoise ratio of the error signal measured in a 1-Hz bandwidth, and t is the integration time. The factor k takes into account the steepness of the slope of the error signal which depends on the used harmonic detection method and the ratio of the peak-to-peak modulation amplitude and the transition linewidth. For a ratio of 1.7 and third harmonic detection, the factor is k s 0.4, whereas for first harmonic detection it would be k s 1. The values of these factors are based on numerical simulations. The dashed lines in Fig. 6 are deduced using the experimental values of D n s 8 MHz, SrN s 200 for P33. and SrN s 20 for R127. transitions. The calculated slopes are in good agreement with the measured values. The measured frequency stability slope for the P33. transition is 4.0 = 10y11 ty1r2 . A

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relative stability of 4.8 = 10y12 2 kHz. is reached at an integration time of 100 s. The frequency stability at long integration times t ) 100 s. is limited by slow changes of the operation parameters of the laser. For different days and reproduced parameter settings, the mean laser frequency varied up to "50 kHz. The observed day-to-day reproducibility 1 s . of the laser frequency is 25 kHz, corresponding to a relative value of 5 = 10y11 see Section 3.5.. 3.4. Frequency interals The frequency intervals of the hyperfine components were measured by locking the diode laser to the resolved components of P33. 6-3 transition while keeping the reference laser locked to the a 15 component of R127. 11-5 transition. The measurement was restricted to the components b 4 b 21 due to the limited bandwidth of the frequency counter. The frequency measurements were repeated several times and the average frequency values n LD of each component relative to the b 21 component were derived. The values are tabulated in Table 1 with their experimental standard deviations 1 s .. The frequency values n CIPM w1,16x recommended by the Comite Interna tional des Poids et Mesures CIPM. are given for comparison and their standard uncertainty is 20 kHz. During the

interval measurement the average frequency of the b 21 component relative to the a 15 component was y519 213 kHz s s 3 kHz. which differs from the CIPM value of y519 224 kHz by D ncorr s 9 kHz. Taking this into account, the frequency differences are given as n LD y n CIPM q D ncorr .. The frequency differences are less than "20 kHz for most components, but are larger for the partially resolved components b5 , b6 , b11, b19 , b 20 .. This is mainly caused by the frequency pushing effect of the neighboring components due to our relatively large modulation amplitude and broad hyperfine lines. It is assumed that this effect is negligible for the values given by CIPM. To calculate the frequency shifts due to the pushing effect the equations described in Refs. w18,19x were used. A pure Lorentzian line shape is assumed for the hyperfine components. The experimental values of 8 and 7 MHz are used for the linewidth FWHM. of the hyperfine components and the frequency modulation amplitude, respectively. The calculated frequency shifts dncalc given in Table 1 are in good agreement with the measured frequency differences and well within the frequency standard uncertainty of 0.02 MHz given by CIPM. It should be noted that according to the calculation the frequency of the b 15 component is shifted by about q20 kHz due to the a 1 component of R127. 11-5 transition existing only 1 MHz apart from the center of b 15.

Table 1 Measured frequency values n LD of the hyperfine components b 4 b 21 of P33. 6-3 transition Component b4 b5 a . b6 a . b7 b8 b 9 a . b10 a . b11 a . b12 b13 b14 b15 b16 b17 b18 b19 a . b 20 a . b 21 b 21 b. Measured n LD MHz. y660.528 5. y610.760 5. y593.974 9. y547.420 5. y487.116 7. y y y438.911 22. y347.384 3. y310.320 4. y263.602 5. y214.550 7. y179.320 9. y153.945 11. y118.239 11. y36.823 4. y21.911 5. 0 y519.213 3. CIPM n CIPM MHz. y660.52 y610.71 y594.01 y547.42 y487.08 y461.27 y453.23 y439.02 y347.36 y310.28 y263.59 y214.56 y179.30 y153.94 y118.22 y36.72 y21.98 0 y519.224 n LD y n CIPM q Dncorr . kHz. 1 y41 45 9 y27 y y 118 y15 y31 y3 19 y11 4 y10 y94 78 9 0 Calculated shift dncalc kHz. 0 y49 49 0 y7 y503 359 114 y1 1 0 y1 y5 5 1 y88 74 14

The frequencies are given relative to the b 21 component. The digits in parentheses represent the standard deviation of the measured values 1 s .. The frequency values n CIPM recommended by CIPM and their differences to the measured values are also given. The last column shows the calculated frequency shifts dncalc caused by the frequency pushing effect of neighboring components due to the wide modulation amplitude used. a. Partially resolved or unresolved component. b. Frequency is given relative to the a 15 component of R127..

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3.5. Frequency shifts To estimate the reasons for the day-to-day variation of the laser frequency, we determined the sensitivity of the frequency to the iodine cell pressure and the modulation amplitude. The laser frequency as a function of the iodine pressure was measured by changing the cold finger temperature in the range from 9.2 to 20.08C which corresponds to a change of iodine pressure from 10.1 to 26.9 Pa. The frequency shifts of the laser locked to three different hyperfine components are shown in Fig. 7. The observed linear pressure shift rates are b 17 : y11.2 kHzrPa, b18 : y11.6 kHzrPa, and b 21: y9.1 kHzrPa. The measured shift rates are consistent with those reported earlier for an external-cavity diode laser applying an external iodine cell w5x and for a He-Ne laser with an intra-cavity cell w20x. The frequency shift as a function of the modulation amplitude for the b 21 component is shown in Fig. 8. The observed shift is less than 10 kHz for modulation amplitudes up to 10 MHz, but for larger amplitudes the shift increases rapidly. This can partly be explained by the frequency pushing effect of the neighboring components. The dashed line in Fig. 8 shows the frequency shift due to the pushing effect calculated using the equations and parameters described earlier. A considerable effect that can produce frequency shift is harmonic distortion of the modulated output of the laser w18x, which can be produced by nonlinear modulation response. A nonlinear response appears if the diode laser is coupled with an external cavity w21x or even if weak optical feedback is present w22x. In the case of an externalcavity diode laser, coupled cavities can be avoided using a diode laser with a high-quality anti-reflection coating. Since the degree of nonlinearity increases with the strength and distance of the optical feedback, the modulation response of the microlens-coupled diode laser should also be nearly linear. However, additional optical feedback from the optical setup can still cause nonlinear behavior. We

Fig. 8. Frequency shift of the diode laser locked to the component b 21 as a function of modulation amplitude. The error bars indicate the standard deviation of the measurement. The dashed line is the calculated shift due to the frequency pushing effect.

Fig. 7. Frequency shift of the diode laser locked to the components b17 , b18 , and b 21 as a function of iodine pressure. The dashed lines are linear fits to the data. The error bars indicate the standard deviation of the measurement.

noticed that even a very weak optical feedback can produce harmonic distortion of the modulated laser output. Since the diode laser is modulated through the injection current, both frequency modulation FM. and intensity modulation IM. are produced. Harmonic components at 3 f . of the IM signal at the laser output produce a background to the detected third harmonic signal and thus cause frequency shift of the laser. The measured amplitudes rms values, relative to the dc-level. of the IM harmonic components for the 7 MHz frequency modulation amplitude are typically about 1 f : 1 = 10y4 , 2 f : 3 = 10y7, and 3 f : - 1 = 10y7 measurement is noise limited.. Under optical feedback the amplitude of the 3 f component can be increased or decreased by a factor of 10 depending on the operation point of the laser. In our detection system, the frequency shift due to the 3 f IM component is estimated to be less than 25 kHz for a relative amplitude of 10y7. The harmonic components mainly 2 f and 3 f . of the FM signal can also produce frequency shift as they are converted to 3 f intensity modulation at the slopes of the absorption spectrum w18x. Preliminary calculations show that the frequency shifts due to the 2 f and 3 f FM components can be even "70 kHz and "300 kHz for 1% amplitudes relative to the 1 f component., respectively. The frequency shift due to the 3 f FM component is largest for the hyperfine components at the slopes of the Doppler background. Our present measurement accuracy of the amplitudes of FM components is limited to 1%. According to the observed frequency shifts of the laser, however, we expect the harmonic FM components to be much smaller. Other parameters that can cause frequency variation of the diode laser system are optical power, beam alignment in the saturated absorption configuration, weak side modes of the laser separated by 50 GHz., broad linewidth and asymmetric lineshape of the laser, and offset drift of electronics. However, we believe that our present day-today reproducibility of 25 kHz is mainly limited by nonlinear modulation response of the diode laser caused by spurious optical feedback from the optical setup. We ex-

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pect better reproducibility by improving the optical isolation of the system and by stabilizing the laser to one of the hyperfine components of b 12 b14 located on the top of the Doppler-broadened background.

ments. This work is a collaboration project with the Center for Metrology and Accreditation. References
w1x T.J. Quinn, Metrologia 30 1993. 523. w2x S. Kremser, B. Bodermann, H. Knockel, E. Tiemann, Optics Comm. 110 1994. 708. w3x T. Kurosu, J. Ishikawa, N. Ito, Jpn. J. Appl. Phys. 36 1997. 4513. w4x C.S. Edwards, G.P. Barwood, P. Gill, F. Rodriquez-Llorente, W.R.C. Rowley, Optics Comm. 132 1996. 94. w5x H.R. Simonsen, IEEE Trans. Instr. Meas. 46 1997. 141. w6x A. Zarka, J.-M. Chartier, J. Aman, E. Jaatinen, IEEE Trans. Instr. Meas. 46 1997. 145. w7x K.-Y. Liou, Electron. Lett. 19 1983. 751. w8x A. Hemmerich, D.H. McIntyre, D. Schroop Jr., D. Meschere, T.W. Hansch, Optics Comm. 75 1990. 118. w9x G.P. Barwood, P. Gill, W.R.C. Rowley, Meas. Sci. Technol. 3 1992. 317. w10x S.W. Connely, J.J. Snyder, Proc. SPIE 2383 1995. 252. w11x H. Talvitie, A. Seppanen, A. Aijala, E. Ikonen, Appl. Phys. B 66 1998. 397. w12x C.H. Henry, IEEE J. Quantum Electron. QE 18 1982. 259. w13x K. Kikuchi, IEEE J. Quantum Electron. QE 25 1989. 684. w14x K.G. Libbrecht, J. Hall, Rev. Sci. Instrum. 64 1993. 2133. w15x J.J. Snyder, S.W. Connely, L.A. Westling, T.J. Thorpe, Proc. SPIE 2383 1995. 261. w16x A. Razet, J. Gagniere, P. Juncar, Metrologia 30 1993. 61. ` w17x F. Marin, A. Bramati, E. Giacobino, T.-C. Zhang, J.-Ph. Poizat, J.-F. Roch, P. Grangier, Phys. Rev. Lett. 75 1995. 4606. w18x P. Cerez, A. Brillet, Metrologia 13 1977. 29. w19x J. Hu, E. Ikonen, K. Riski, Optics Comm. 120 1995. 65. w20x J. Hu, T. Ahola, K. Riski, E. Ikonen, Measurement 16 1995. 187. w21x A. Pietilainen, H. Ludvigsen, H. Talvitie, E. Ikonen, Quan tum Semiclass. Opt. 9 1997. 615. w22x H. Kakiuchida, J. Ohtsubo, IEEE J. Quantum Electron. QE 30 1994. 2087.

4. Conclusion In this work we have developed a simple and compact diode laser system, the frequency of which is stabilized to the Doppler-free spectrum of the P33. 6-3 transition of molecular iodine at 633 nm. The system utilizes weak optical feedback from an integrated microlens to obtain single frequency operation and improved wavelength tuning of the diode laser. Even though the laser linewidth is almost as broad as the Doppler-free absorption lines of iodine, a third harmonic locking signal with a signal-tonoise ratio of 200 bandwidth 1 Hz. is achieved. This is mainly due to the nearly shot noise limited intensity noise of the diode laser that is obtained using an ultra low noise current supply. A relative frequency stability slope of 4 = 10y11 ty1r2 up to an integration time of 100 s and a day-to-day frequency reproducibility of 5 = 10y11 are achieved. The measured frequency intervals of the hyperfine components of the P33. 6-3 transition are in very good agreement with values recommended by the CIPM when the frequency pushing effect of neighboring components is taken into account. Nonlinear modulation response of the diode laser caused by unwanted optical feedback is considered to be the main limiting factor of the present frequency reproducibility.

Acknowledgements The authors would like to thank J. Hu for useful discussions and assistance in beat frequency measure-