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Opt Lett. 2012 Sep 1;37(17):3477-9. doi: 10.1364/OL.37.003477.

Laser locking to the 199Hg 1S0-3P0 clock transition with 5.4 × 10(-15)/✓τ fractional frequency instability.

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  • 1LNE-SYRTE, Observatoire de Paris, CNRS, UPMC, Paris, France.


With 199Hg atoms confined in an optical lattice trap in the Lamb-Dicke regime, we obtain a spectral line at 265.6 nm for which the FWHM is ~15 Hz. Here we lock an ultrastable laser to this ultranarrow 1S0-3P0 clock transition and achieve a fractional frequency instability of 5.4×10(-15)/✓τ for τ ≤ 400 s. The highly stable laser light used for the atom probing is derived from a 1062.6 nm fiber laser locked to an ultrastable optical cavity that exhibits a mean drift rate of -6.0×10(-17) s(-1) (-16.9 mHz s(-1) at 282 THz) over a six month period. A comparison between two such lasers locked to independent optical cavities shows a flicker noise limited fractional frequency instability of 4×10(-16) per cavity.

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