Abstract

Measurements of the frequency stability of a far-infrared molecular laser have been made by mixing the harmonic of an ultrastable microwave source with a portion of the laser output signal in a terahertz (THz) Schottky diode balanced mixer. A 3 GHz difference-frequency signal was used in a frequency discriminator circuit to lock the laser to the microwave source. Comparisons of the short- and long-term laser frequency stability under free-running and locked conditions show a significant improvement with locking. Short-term frequency jitter was reduced by an order of magnitude, from approximately 40 to 4 kHz, and long-term drift was reduced by more than three orders of magnitude, from approximately 250 kHz to 80 Hz. The results, enabled by the efficient Schottky diode balanced mixer downconverter, demonstrate that ultrastable microwave-based frequency stabilization of THz optically pumped lasers (OPLs) will now be possible at frequencies extending well above 4.0 THz.

© 2015 Optical Society of America

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