Definition: a laser which is injection-locked to another laser
More general terms: lasers
Opposite term: master laser
Categories: laser devices and laser physics, optical amplifiers
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Author: Dr. Rüdiger Paschotta
A slave laser is a laser which emits on an optical frequency which is dictated by an external master laser (seed laser) via injection locking. Typically, the seed laser is a low-noise single-frequency laser, and the slave laser is a high-power laser. An electronic servo system is usually used to keep the frequency of a resonator mode of the slave laser close enough to the frequency of the master laser to allow for frequency locking.
With the master laser removed or turned off, the high-power laser would typically not even emit on a single frequency, or at least with a much higher intensity and phase noise. Injection locking makes it easier to achieve good noise properties, comparing with the attempt of directly obtaining low-noise performance of a high-power laser. It is also possible to drive multiple slave lasers with a single master laser.
A possible alternative would be to simply use an optical amplifier, but particularly with high-power amplifiers it is often difficult to achieve as much gain as with injection looking. Also, the noise properties can be substantially better with injection looking.
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See also: injection locking, stabilization of lasers, frequency-stabilized lasers, master laser
and other articles in the categories laser devices and laser physics, optical amplifiers
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