Single-frequency 571nm VECSEL for photo-ionization of magnesium open site

Date: Jun 3, 2016

We report the development of an intracavity-frequency-doubled vertical external-cavity surface-emitting laser (VECSEL) emitting at 571 nm for photoionization of magnesium. The laser employs a V-cavity geometry with a gain chip at the end of one cavity arm and a lithium triborate (LBO) crystal for second harmonic generation. The gain chip has a bottom-emitting design with ten GaInAs quantum wells of 7 nm thickness, which are strain compensated by GaAsP. The system is capable of producing up to 2.4 ± 0.1 W (total power in two separate output beams) in the visible. The free-running relative intensity noise was measured to be below −55 dBc/Hz over all frequencies from 1 Hz to 1 MHz. With acoustic isolation and temperature regulation of the laser breadboard, the mode-hop free operation time is typically over 5 hrs. To improve the long-term frequency stability, the laser can be locked to a Doppler-free transition of molecular iodine. To estimate the short-term linewidth, the laser was tuned to the resonance of a reference cavity. From analysis of the on-resonance Hänsch-Couillaud error signal we infer a linewidth of 50 ± 10 kHz. Light at 285 nm is generated with an external build-up cavity containing a β-barium borate (BBO) crystal. The UV light is used for loading 25Mg+ ions in a surface-electrode RF Paul trap. These results demonstrate the applicability and versatility of high-power, single-frequency VECSELs with intracavity harmonic generation for applications in atomic and molecular physics.