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Development of a compact optical absolute frequency reference for space with 10−15 instability

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Abstract

We report on a compact and ruggedized setup for laser frequency stabilization employing Doppler-free spectroscopy of molecular iodine near 532 nm. Using a 30 cm long iodine cell in a triple-pass configuration in combination with noise-canceling detection and residual amplitude modulation control, a frequency instability of 6×1015 at 1 s integration time and a Flicker noise floor below 3×1015 for integration times between 100 and 1000 s was found. A specific assembly-integration technology was applied for the realization of the spectroscopy setup, ensuring high beam pointing stability and high thermal and mechanical rigidity. The setup was developed with respect to future applications in space, including high-sensitivity interspacecraft interferometry, tests of fundamental physics, and navigation and ranging.

© 2017 Optical Society of America

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