Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2017

Document Type

Thesis

Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors

Department

Physics

First Advisor

Prof. Thomas Schibli

Abstract

Femtosecond mode-locked lasers have become one of the indispensable tools for spectroscopy and microwave generation for its capability to generate high-quality ultra-short pulses, and thus optical frequency combs with a wide spectrum. Particularly, many applications of the optical frequency combs require the high spectral purity and long-term stability of the combs, which are limited by the phase noise, or timing jitter, of the mode-locked lasers. Therefore, several techniques have been successfully developed recently for stabilizing the mode-locked lasers, although they suffer many drawbacks in the sense of applicability because of their relative complex designs. In this thesis, an attempt to apply the Pound-Drever-Hall technique, a powerful frequency stabilization technique for continuous wave laser, to the mode-locked lasers is demonstrated with success. Our results indicate that with this simplified and robust system, the repetition frequency of the mode-locked laser has been stabilized and there is significant phase noise suppression at low frequency, and it is capable to reduce the integrated timing jitter of the mode-locked laser by nearly four times without the need of previously stabilized transfer lasers or RF signals as references. The success from this stabilization system reveals the great potential of utilizing Pound-Derver-Hall technique for future inspirations of a cost-effective and field-deployable system that could provide state-of-the-art stabilization for the mode-locked lasers.

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