Abstract

We present a simple and effective method for frequency locking a laser source to a free-space-coupled whispering-gallery-mode cavity. The scheme relies on the interference of spatial modes contained in the light scattered by the cavity, where low- and high-order modes are simultaneously excited. A dispersion-shaped signal proportional to the imaginary component of the resonant optical field is simply generated by spatial filtering of the scattered light. Locking of a diode laser to the equatorial modes of a liquid droplet resonator is demonstrated using this scheme, and its performance is compared to the Pound–Drever–Hall technique. This new approach makes laser-frequency locking straightforward and shows a number of advantages, including robustness, low cost, and no need for sophisticated optical and electronic components.

© 2016 Optical Society of America

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