Development of an external cavity diode laser for application to spectroscopy and laser cooling and trapping of rubidium

Botha, G. N. (2009-03)

Thesis (MSc (Physics))--University of Stellenbosch, 2009.


In the presented study a diode laser was characterised and used for spec- troscopy, measuring the resonance lines of atomic rubidium. The characteristics of diode lasers and external cavity diode lasers (ECDL) for the purposes of ab- sorption spectroscopy were investigated and an experimental setup for tunable diode laser spectroscopy using an ECDL was developed. In external cavity diode lasers, the advantages of low cost, small size and e ciency of a diode laser is combined with tunability and a narrow frequency bandwidth. The ECDL was applied in experimental setups for absorption spectroscopy and saturated ab- sorption spectroscopy. Measurement of the absorption of atomic rubidium's D2 line near 780 nm is discussed. The Doppler broadened, as well as the Doppler free spectrum of the ne and hyper ne structure of the D2 line were measured and is discussed. Finer control of the ECDL's stability and frequency, using a servo circuit, were investigated and tested. An overview is given of laser cool- ing and trapping of neutral rubidium atoms, which is the main application the ECDL were developed for.

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