Clock Laser beat-note

Here's the beat-note, as seen on a spectrum analyzer, between a red laser at 445 THz (or 674 nm, if you prefer wavelengths instead of frequencies) and a femtosecond frequency comb. The frequency comb has evenly spaced (100 MHz in our case) 'teeth' at well-defined multiples of RF-frequencies that we can lock to a H-maser. This allows absolute frequency measurements of the optical frequency at 445 THz. Currently we are trying to improve the SNR of the beat-note so that a frequency-counter will give a stable output reading of the beat-note frequency. The video shows about 20 dB of SNR using 10 kHz RBW (if you are optmistic), but reliable counting requires around 25 dB SNR using a 100 kHz RBW.

This laser will be used as the 'clock-laser' in our  ion-clock where it is used to drive a narrow clock-transition of a single laser cooled Sr+ ion. Earlier I blogged about measuring the thermal expansion of the optical cavity that is used to stabilize the laser.

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