Diode lasers with a power output superior to 100 mW are in widespread use in medical as well as research applications. However, for such diodes lasing oscillation generally occurs simultaneously in several longitudinal and transverse modes that are unsuitable for high-resolution spectroscopy. We spectrally narrow a 100-mW broad-area diode laser by first using an extended cavity and then an electrical feedback produced by a Pound-Drever-Hall stabilization on a low-finesse reference cavity. Reduction of the linewidth by more than 6 orders of magnitude is achieved (the output linewidth is narrowed from 1 THz to less than 500 kHz), making possible its use for high-resolution spectroscopy. The power and the spectral qualities of this diode laser allow us to induce quantum jumps toward the <i>D</i><sub>5/2</sub> metastable level of single Ca<sup>+</sup> ions.
© 2003 Optical Society of America
(140.0140) Lasers and laser optics : Lasers and laser optics
(140.2020) Lasers and laser optics : Diode lasers
(140.5960) Lasers and laser optics : Semiconductor lasers
(300.3700) Spectroscopy : Linewidth
Marie Houssin, Philippe Courteille, Caroline Champenois, Mustapha Herbane, Martina Knoop, Michel Vedel, and Fernande Vedel, "Linewidth Reduction by 6 Orders of Magnitude of a Broad-Area 729-nm Diode Laser," Appl. Opt. 42, 4871-4876 (2003)