High frequency Pound-Drever-Hall optical ring resonator sensing



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A procedure is introduced for increasing the sensitivity of measurements in integrated ring resonators beyond what has been previously accomplished. This is demonstrated by a high-frequency, phase sensitive lock to the ring resonators. A prototyped fiber Fabry-Perot cavity is used for comparison of the method to a similar cavity. The Pound-Drever-Hall (PDH) method is used as a proven, ultra-sensitive method with the exploration of a much higher frequency modulation than has been previously discussed to overcome comparatively low finesse of the ring resonator cavities. The high frequency facilitates the use of the same modulation signal to separately probe the phase information of different integrated ring resonators with quality factors of 8.2 x10^5 and 2.4 x10^5. The large free spectral range of small cavities and low finesse provides a challenge to sensing and locking the long-term stability of diode lasers due to small dynamic range and signal-to-noise ratios. These can be accommodated for by a calculated increase in modulation frequency using the PDH approach. Further, cavity design parameters will be shown to have a significant affect on the resolution of the phase-sensing approach. A distributed feedback laser is locked to a ring resonator to demonstrate the present sensitivity which can then be discussed in comparison to other fiber and integrated sensors. The relationship of the signal-to-noise ratio (S/N) and frequency range to the cavity error signal will be explored with an algorithm to optimize this relationship. The free spectral range and the cavity transfer function coefficients provide input parameters to this relationship to determine the optimum S/N and frequency range of the respective cavities used for locking and sensing. The purpose is to show how future contributions to the measurements and experiments of micro-cavities, specifically ring resonators, is well-served by the PDH method with high-frequency modulation.