Two-frequency acousto-optic modulator driver to improve the beam pointing stability during intensity ramps

Fröhlich, B.; Lahaye, T.; Kaltenhäuser, B.; Kübler, H.; Müller, S.; Koch, T.; Fattori, M.; Pfau, T.
April 2007
Review of Scientific Instruments;Apr2007, Vol. 78 Issue 4, p046101
Academic Journal
We report on a scheme to improve the pointing stability of the first order beam diffracted by an acousto-optic modulator (AOM). Due to thermal effects inside the crystal, the angular position of the beam can change by as much as 1 mrad when the radio-frequency power in the AOM is reduced to decrease the first order beam intensity. This is done, for example, to perform forced evaporative cooling in ultracold atom experiments using far-off-resonant optical traps. We solve this problem by driving the AOM with two radio frequencies f1 and f2. The power of f2 is adjusted relative to the power of f1 to keep the total power constant. Using this, the beam displacement is decreased by a factor of 20. The method is simple to implement in existing experimental setups, without any modification of the optics.


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