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Applied Optics

Applied Optics


  • Editor: James C. Wyant
  • Vol. 45, Iss. 35 — Dec. 10, 2006
  • pp: 9013–9020

Extending the continuous tuning range of an external-cavity diode laser

Kevin S. Repasky, Amin R. Nehrir, Justin T. Hawthorne, Gregg W. Switzer, and John L. Carlsten  »View Author Affiliations

Applied Optics, Vol. 45, Issue 35, pp. 9013-9020 (2006)

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The continuous tuning range of an external-cavity diode laser can be extended by making small corrections to the external-cavity length through an electronic feedback loop so that the cavity resonance condition is maintained as the laser wavelength is tuned. By maintaining the cavity resonance condition as the laser is tuned, the mode hops that typically limit the continuous tuning range of the external-cavity diode laser are eliminated. We present the design of a simple external-cavity diode laser based on the Littman–Metcalf external-cavity configuration that has a measured continuous tuning range of 1   GHz without an electronic feedback loop. To include the electronic feedback loop, a small sinusoidal signal is added to the drive current of the laser diode creating a small oscillation of the laser power. By comparing the phase of the modulated optical power with the phase of the sinusoidal drive signal using a lock-in amplifier, an error signal is created and used in an electronic feedback loop to control the external-cavity length. With electronic feedback, we find that the continuous tuning range can be extended to over 65   GHz . This occurs because the electronic feedback maintains the cavity resonance condition as the laser is tuned. An experimental demonstration of this extended tuning range is presented in which the external-cavity diode laser is tuned through an absorption feature of diatomic oxygen near 760   nm .

© 2006 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(140.3600) Lasers and laser optics : Lasers, tunable
(140.5960) Lasers and laser optics : Semiconductor lasers
(280.3420) Remote sensing and sensors : Laser sensors
(300.6260) Spectroscopy : Spectroscopy, diode lasers

Original Manuscript: July 19, 2006
Revised Manuscript: August 24, 2006
Manuscript Accepted: August 29, 2006

Kevin S. Repasky, Amin R. Nehrir, Justin T. Hawthorne, Gregg W. Switzer, and John L. Carlsten, "Extending the continuous tuning range of an external-cavity diode laser," Appl. Opt. 45, 9013-9020 (2006)

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