Laser diode characterization for atomic clocks

Key members:

Time and frequency and synchronization applications require reliable, highly precise and stable, compact and cost effective clocks. Cesium atomic clocks are currently considered as the most suitable devices complying with such requirements. A new generation of this type of atomic clocks is expected, in which a laser light source will prepare and place all atoms in a convenient state for later interrogation.

The objective of the project LAMA (LAser diode Modules for high performance cesium Atomic clocks) is the development of highly reliable and cost effective laser diode modules for Cesium atomic clocks, a key issue to achieve a complete European supply chain in the field. The project is run as part of the EURIPIDES EUREKA cluster, which goal is to strengthen Europe’s competitiveness by supporting research institutions and higher education institutions in working together in the frame of international collaborations. Besides LTF, four other partners participate to the LAMA project: III-V lab (F), Oscilloquartz (CH), 3S Photonics (F) and Thales Electron Devices (F).

LTF, which is recognized for its competences in optical metrology, is in charge of the characterization of the laser diode modules, with emphasis on the spectral aspects. Attention is dedicated to parameters like optical power and wavelength, tuning coefficients, spectrum, intensity and frequency noises, sensitivity to optical feedback, aging and reliability of the laser diodes. To this aim, an automated laser diode characterization test bench is being developed.

Photo of the laser diode characterization bench

Laser diode characterization bench



Relevant publications:

  1. C. Affolderbach, G. Mileti, “Tuneable, stabilised diode lasers for compact atomic frequency standards and precision wavelength references”, Optics and Lasers in Engineering, Volume 43, 291–302, (2005)
  2. C. Affolderbach, G. Mileti, “A compact laser head with high-frequency stability for Rb atomic clocks and optical instrumentation”, Review of Scientific Instruments, Volume 76, 073108, (2005)
  3. C. Affolderbach, F. Gruet, R. Matthey, G. Mileti, “A compact laser-pumped Rb clock with 5x10-13 T frequency stability”, Proceedings of the Joint Meeting of the European Frequency and Time Forum (EFTF) and the IEEE International Frequency Control Symposium (FCS), San Francisco, May 2-5, (2011)
  4. T. Bandi, C. Affolderbach, C. E. Calosso, and G. Mileti, “High-Performance Laser-Pumped Rubidium Fre-quency Standard for Satellite Navigation”, Electronics Letters, Vol. 47, No. 12, p. 698–699 (2011)
  5. G. Di Domenico, L. Devenoges, C. Dumas, P. Thomann, “Combined quantum-state preparation and laser cooling of a continuous beam of cold atoms”, Phys. Rev. A 82, 053417 (2010)
  6. F. Gruet, D. Miletic, C. Affolderbach, G. Mileti, V. Vilokkinen, P. Melanen, “Spectral characterization of aged and non-aged 894 nm DFB for their application in Cs atomic clocks”, Proceedings of the Internation-al Symposium on Reliability of Optoelectronics for Space (ISROS), Cagliari (I), May 11-14, (2009)
  7. R. Matthey, C. Affolderbach, G. Mileti, "Methods and evaluation of frequency aging in DFB laser diodes for Rubidium atomic clocks”, Optics Letters, Vol. 36, No. 17, p. 3311-3313 (2011)