Sensing earth's rotation with a helium-neon ring laser operating at 1.15 μm

Opt Lett. 2015 Apr 15;40(8):1705-8. doi: 10.1364/OL.40.001705.


We report on the operation of a 2.56 m2 helium-neon based ring laser interferometer at a wavelength of 1.152276 μm using crystalline coated intracavity supermirrors. This work represents the first implementation of crystalline coatings in an active laser system and expands the core application area of these low-thermal-noise cavity end mirrors to inertial sensing systems. Stable gyroscopic behavior can only be obtained with the addition of helium to the gain medium as this quenches the 1.152502 μm (2s4→2p7) transition of the neon doublet which otherwise gives rise to mode competition. For the first time at this wavelength, the ring laser is observed to readily unlock on the bias provided by the earth's rotation alone, yielding a Sagnac frequency of approximately 59 Hz.