1.2. Which tools are necessary to verify proper operation of my laser?

We highly recommend the use of a high-finesse interferometer, such as the FPI 100 from TOPTICA for characterizing the spectral properties of your laser, such as single-mode operation and mode-hop-free tuning range. Our experience shows that customers without such a tool spend significantly more time verifying correct operation of their laser system.

A well calibrated spectrometer such as an optical spectrum analyzer or a high precision wavelength meter (e.g. the WSx series from High Finesse) also proves useful for precise and rapid coarse tuning of the laser. This is especially important if the laser is operated at wavelengths where no atomic/molecular reference exists.

For verification of the laser power a high quality power meter is indispensable:

  • Semiconductor based power meter offer quick response and are therefore suitable for optimization purposes, e.g. fiber coupling, cavity alignment, but their accuracy is wavelength dependent. To our experience, their reading gets quite unreliable at wavelength < 500nm
  • Thermal powermeter ("thermopile") offer good accuracy across a wide range of wavelength, but are not suitable for alignment due to their slow response time

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