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Stabilization of Lasers

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Definition: measures applied to lasers in order to improve their stability in terms of output power, optical frequency, or other quantities

German: Stabilisierung von Lasern

Categories: fluctuations and noise, lasers, methods

How to cite the article; suggest additional literature

As lasers exhibit various kinds of laser noise, which can be detrimental in applications, it is sometimes necessary to use techniques for suppressing noise and stabilizing certain laser parameters. There are active and passive stabilization schemes, as discussed in the following.

See also the article on synchronization of lasers, which treats both timing and phase synchronization.

Active Laser Stabilization

Active stabilization schemes usually involve some kind of electronic feedback (or sometimes feedforward) system, where fluctuations of some parameters are converted to an electronic signal, which is then used to act on the laser in some way.

power stabilization for a laser

Figure 1: Diode-pumped solid-state laser with a feedback system stabilizing the output power.

Examples are:

The stability which is achieved with such active systems is determined by factors such as photodetection noise, the bandwidth of control elements, the design of the feedback electronics, and the stability of the reference standards (e.g. optical reference cavities).

Passive Laser Stabilization

Passive schemes do not involve electronics and are based on purely optical effects. Examples are:

The optical frequency of a laser may also be stabilized by injection locking, i.e., injecting a beam with a highly stable optical frequency from another laser.


The RP Photonics Buyer's Guide contains 17 suppliers for equipment for laser stabilization. Among them:


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[9]S. Seel et al., “Cryogenic optical resonators: a new tool for laser frequency stabilization at the 1 Hz level”, Phys. Rev. Lett. 78 (25), 4741 (1997)
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[14]F. W. Helbing et al., “Carrier–envelope offset phase-locking with attosecond timing jitter”, IEEE J. Sel. Top. Quantum Electron. 9 (4), 1030 (2003)
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 [16]J. Rollins et al., “Solid-state laser intensity stabilization at the 10−8 level”, Opt. Lett. 29 (16), 1876 (2004)
[17]H. Stoehr et al., “Diode laser with 1 Hz linewidth”, Opt. Lett. 31 (6), 736 (2006)
[18]F. Seifert et al., “Laser power stabilization for second-generation gravitational wave detectors”, Opt. Lett. 31 (13), 2000 (2006)
[19]F. Kéfélian et al., “Ultralow-frequency-noise stabilization of a laser by locking to an optical fiber-delay line”, Opt. Lett. 34 (7), 914 (2009)
[20]P. Kwee et al., “Shot-noise-limited laser power stabilization with a high-power photodiode array”, Opt. Lett. 34 (19), 2912 (2009)
[21]N. Satyan et al., “Phase noise reduction of a semiconductor laser in a composite optical phase-locked loop”, Opt. Eng. 49 (12), 124301 (2010)
[22]P. Kwee, B. Willke and K. Danzmann, “New concepts and results in laser power stabilization”, Appl. Phys. B 102 (3), 515 (2011)
[23]R. Paschotta, “Noise in Laser Technology”. Part 1 – Intensity and Phase Noise; Part 2: Fluctuations in Pulsed Lasers; Part 3: Beam Pointing Fluctuations

(Suggest additional literature!)

See also: laser noise, intensity noise, spiking, phase noise, linewidth, noise eaters, lasers, injection locking, carrier–envelope offset, frequency combs, frequency metrology, synchronization of lasers
and other articles in the categories fluctuations and noise, lasers, methods

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