Characterization of the dynamics of an FDML laser during closed-loop cavity length control


In Fourier domain mode locked (FDML) lasers, extremely precise and stable matching of the filter tuning period and light circulation time in the cavity is essential for ultra-low noise operation. During the operation of FDML lasers, the ultra-low noise mode can be lost due to temperature drifts of the already temperature stabilized cavity resulting in increased intensity noise. Until now, the filter frequency is continuously regulated to match the changing light circulation time. However, this causes the filter frequency to constantly change by a few mHz and leads to synchronization issues in cases where a fixed filter frequency is desired. We present an actively cavity length controlled FDML laser and a robust and high precision feedback loop algorithm for maintaining ultra-low noise operation. Instead of adapting the filter frequency, the cavity length is adjusted by a motorized free space beam path to match the fixed filter frequency. The closed-loop system achieves a stability of ~0.18 mHz at a sweep repetition rate of ~418 kHz which corresponds to a ratio of 4×10-10. We investigate the coherence properties during the active cavity length adjustments and observe no noise increase compared to fixed cavity length. The cavity length control is fully functional and for the first time, offers the possibility to operate an FDML laser in sweet spot mode at a fixed frequency or phase locked to an external clock. This opens new possibilities for system integration of FDML lasers.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSPIE LASE
PublisherSPIE-Intl Soc Optical Eng
Publication date04.03.2021
ISBN (Print)9781510641655
Publication statusPublished - 04.03.2021

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