Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Physics

First Advisor

Thomas R. Schibli

Second Advisor

Markus B. Raschke

Third Advisor

Steven J. Pollock

Abstract

High-quality ultrashort pulses of light generated by solid-state modelocked femtosecond lasers have become increasingly recognized in recent years as indispensable tools for precision spectroscopy and frequency metrology due to their ability to form optical frequency combs (OFC) over a wide spectral range. Furthermore, of particular interest to many fields is an OFC's ability to produce microwave signals with a high degree of spectral purity - ultimately limited by the phase noise of the modelocked laser used to generate the comb. As a result, several effective techniques have been developed for stabilizing modelocked lasers, but they often involve a high degree of complexity and cost. In this thesis, a simplified modelocked laser stabilization scheme based on the famous Pound, Drever, Hall continuous-wave laser stabilization technique is demonstrated, which was capable of significant phase noise suppression up to at least a 1.1 kHz offset frequency. By essentially PDH-locking the repetition rate of a solid-state Er:Yb modelocked laser to a single reference cavity, the integrated timing jitter from 100 Hz -- 10 MHz was reduced nearly four-fold, without the need for complex and delicate RF or CW laser references. This simplified and robust method for long-term repetition rate stabilization furthers the potential for the development of inexpensive, low-noise, field deployable solid-state modelocked laser-generated frequency combs - a market currently dominated by their fiber-based counterparts.

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