2009 Advanced Laboratories Conference Abstract Detail Page

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Abstract Title: Sub-picometer resolution from a Michelson wavelength meter
Abstract: We describe high-resolution wavelength measurements of light from a commercial frequency stabilized helium neon laser. Using a home-built Michelson wavemeter we resolved adjacent longitudinal cavity modes. With good repeatability we measured the vacuum wavelengths of adjacent modes to be 632.9910 nm and 632.9902 nm. This result is consistent with the expected separation of 0.85 pm as measured from the mode beat frequency (640 MHz). With picometer-level accuracy – verified by measuring light from an external cavity diode laser stabilized to an iodine molecular transition – this wavemeter is suitable for use in high precision atomic spectroscopy.

The wavemeter uses a commercial frequency stabilized helium neon laser at a nominal wavelength of 632.8 nm as its reference. The moving arm of the interferometer comprises a common physics laboratory air track (1.4 m), glider and solid corner cube for retro-reflection. In order to maximize the number of interferometric fringe counts we use photogates near the glider's turning points and a simple digital circuit to trigger the fringe counter (Fluke PM6681). A LabView software application and a general purpose interface bus connection enables control of the counter and data manipulation.
Abstract Type: Poster
Contributed Poster: Download the Contributed Poster
Session: Session IX - Effective Experiments Poster Session

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Chad Hoyt
Bethel University
3900 Bethel Dr. #2336
St. Paul, MN 55112
Phone: 651-638-9689
Fax: 651-638-6001
Co-Author(s)
and Co-Presenter(s)
Sarah Anderson, University of Michigan, Department of Physics, andsare -at- umich.edu

Adam Banfield, Bethel University, Physics Department, banada -at- bethel.edu

Sarah Kaiser, Bethel University, Physics Department, sarah-kaiser -at- bethel.edu