Pound Drever Hall Lock-In

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Pound Drever Hall Lock-In Project

Overview

The Pound Drever Hall, or PDH, Lock-In Project is desinged to prepare students for working with tunable lasers, high frequency electronics, and optical Cavities. The objective of this project, as the name entails, is to uses the PHD technique to lock a tunable laser to a cavity. Both the laser and the cavity will be constructed by the students using suplied parts, allowing the students to learn the theory behind tunable lasers and the logistics of constucting an optical cavity.

Theory

The main concept behind the PHD lock-in method is the use of a Cavity to sense the laser frequency and then adjust the laser based on the laser-cavity frequency difference. The basic way of using a Cavity to measure a lasers frequency is by measuring the transmission or reflection of the cavity at different cavity lengths. Since, the objective is to set the laser to a stabilize a laser around a single frequency, the cavity length will not change. The frequency measurement should also be from the reflected beam of the cavity, so transmitted beam may used. If the cavity resonance is near the laser wavelength, then the reflectance can be approximated by a quadratic function. Though, you can't lock a laser to just the reflected beam because if the laser is slightly off resonance with the cavity there is no way to tell if the laser frequency is higher or lower than the cavity, you can only tell that the laser is off resonance. To fix this note that the derivative of a quadratic function is linear and therefore would fix the frequency ambiguity of the quadratic function. Now, in order to sense the derivative of the reflected beam, with respect to frequency, the laser needs to have is frequency varied. The reason for varying the laser frequency, is to allow for a discrete approximation of a derivative. This means that the reflected beam will have three frequencies, each with there own intensities, based on the reflectance at the respective frequencies. Therefore, when the reflected beam hits the detector, the detector will detect a beat frequency. This beat frequency will create a DC signal and an AC signal, the AC compo net is removed by a low pass filter, allowing the error signal to be proportional to the detector-cavity frequency difference. This error signal may then be sent to ether the laser or the cavity, depending of whether a laser locked to cavity or a cavity locked to laser is required.

Our Setup

Progress

Current Progress

Future Plans