Tag Archives: optical isolator

21st Day of Christmas: Optical Isolator

This Advent during the 24 days leading up to Christmas I thought it would be fun to have a quick introduction of scientific apparatus, in particular tools used in atomic physics research. This is a way to say thanks to their hard work for our research, and a look at how many things are really needed to make a laboratory work!

Optical Isolator

Diode lasers¬†are very sensitive to external feedback, meaning any part of their light that goes back into the diode. This sensitivity can be exploited to improve the laser’s properties, but when the feedback is uncontrolled, it can cause trouble, most of the time in the form of chaotic behaviour (the laser wavelength is jumping around). Since we want to have nice stable laser beam, these unwanted feedback needs to be removed, and that is done by an optical isolator. The optical isolator lets light through one way, but blocks it from returning the same way.

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