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The laser absolute wavelength standard problem

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1 Author(s)
Hall, J.L. ; Joint Institute for laboratory, Astro Physics of the national Bureau of Standards and the Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, Colo.

Stabilized lasers usually exhibit systematic frequency shifts larger than their resettability; this phenomenon is well illustrated by the 6328-Å helium-neon laser. We describe a Lamb-dip stabilized laser that operates at 1.15259 μ in pure low-pressure (0.12-torr) neon. Optical heterodyne experiments indicate an accuracy exceeding 1 part in 109; short and medium term precisions of 1 : 1010are easily achieved. We also report the successful operation of a wavelength reference based on the saturation of sharp molecular absorption. In the first experiments the P(7) line of the v3band of methane is saturated inside the cavity of a 3.39-μ helium-neon laser. The saturation maximum at molecular line center produces an "emission" feature whose linewidth is less than 5 parts in 109. The pressure-induced offset is expected to be less than 1 part in 1010. Size scaling is expected to improve these first results by at least 1 decade.

Published in:

Quantum Electronics, IEEE Journal of  (Volume:4 ,  Issue: 10 )