Riedle, Eberhard; Ashworth, S. H.; Farrell, Jr., J. T.; Nesbitt, D. J.
Stabilization and precise calibration of a continuous-wave difference frequency spectrometer by use of a simple transfer cavity.
In: Review of Scientific Instruments, Vol. 65: pp. 42-48
A novel, simple, and inexpensive calibration scheme for a continuous-wave difference frequency spectrometer is presented, based on the stabilization of an open transfer cavity by locking onto the output of a polarization stabilized HeNe laser. High frequency, acoustic fluctuations of the transfer cavity length are compensated with a piezoelectric transducer mounted mirror, while long term drift in cavity length is controlled by thermal feedback. A single mode Ar+ laser, used with a single mode ring dye laser in the difference frequency generation of 2–4 µm light, is then locked onto a suitable fringe of this stable cavity, achieving a very small long term drift and furthermore reducing the free running Ar+ linewidth to about 1 MHz. The dye laser scan provides tunability in the difference frequency mixing process, and is calibrated by marker fringes with the same stable cavity. Due to the absolute stability of the marker cavity, precise frequency determination of near infrared molecular transitions is achieved via interpolation between these marker fringes. It is shown theoretically that the residual error of this scheme due to the dispersion of air in the transfer cavity is quite small, and experimentally that a frequency precision on the order of 1 MHz per hour is routinely obtained with respect to molecular transitions. Review of Scientific Instruments is copyrighted by The American Institute of Physics.