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Applied Optics

Applied Optics


  • Vol. 38, Iss. 12 — Apr. 20, 1999
  • pp: 2545–2553

High-speed random access laser tuning

David C. Thompson, George E. Busch, Clifford J. Hewitt, Dennis K. Remelius, Tsutomu Shimada, Charlie E. M. Strauss, Carl W. Wilson, and Thomas J. Zaugg  »View Author Affiliations

Applied Optics, Vol. 38, Issue 12, pp. 2545-2553 (1999)

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We have developed a technique for laser tuning at rates of 100 kHz or more using a pair of acousto-optic modulators. In addition to all-electronic wavelength control, the same modulators also can provide electronically variable Q-switching, cavity length and power stabilization, chirp and linewidth control, and variable output coupling, all at rates far beyond what is possible with conventional mechanically tuned components. Tuning rates of 70 kHz have been demonstrated on a radio-frequency-pumped CO2 laser, with random access to over 50 laser lines spanning a 17% range in wavelength and with wavelength discrimination better than 1 part in 1000. A compact tuner and Q-switch has been deployed in a 5–10-kHz pulsed lidar system. The modulators each operate at a fixed Bragg angle, with the acoustic frequency determining the selected wavelength. This arrangement doubles the wavelength resolution without introducing an undesirable frequency shift.

© 1999 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(140.3470) Lasers and laser optics : Lasers, carbon dioxide
(140.3600) Lasers and laser optics : Lasers, tunable
(230.1040) Optical devices : Acousto-optical devices
(280.1910) Remote sensing and sensors : DIAL, differential absorption lidar

Original Manuscript: October 22, 1998
Revised Manuscript: January 4, 1999
Published: April 20, 1999

David C. Thompson, George E. Busch, Clifford J. Hewitt, Dennis K. Remelius, Tsutomu Shimada, Charlie E. M. Strauss, Carl W. Wilson, and Thomas J. Zaugg, "High-speed random access laser tuning," Appl. Opt. 38, 2545-2553 (1999)

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