Journal article

Diode laser frequency stabilisation for water-vapour differential absorption sensing

We describe a low-power continuous-wave laser system for water-vapour sensing applications in the 935-nm region. The system is based on extended-cavity diode lasers and distributed-feedback lasers and delivers four single-mode frequency-stabilised optical signals. Three lasers are locked to three water-vapour absorption lines of different strengths, whereas the fourth lies outside any absorption line. On-line stabilisation is performed by wavelength-modulation spectroscopy using compact water-vapour reference cells. An offset-locking technique implemented around an electrical filter is applied for the stabilisation of the off-line slave laser to an on-line master laser at a frequency detuning of 18.8 GHz. Stabilities in the order of 15 MHz over one day were observed for the strongest lines, at the detection limit of the measurement instrumentation. The developed techniques and schemes can be applied to other wavelength ranges and molecular species. Differential absorption lidar instrumentation can in particular benefit from such a system when the stabilised lasers serve as injection seeders to pulsed power oscillators. © Springer-Verlag 2006.

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