External cavity laser has been the go-to solution for tunable lasers. For diode laser solutions, the gain can be provided by a gain chip, the external cavity gives feedback on selected wavelength, allowing the whole system to lase at target wavelength.
On one hand, the wavelength can be tuned with different principles following different cavity configurations, common ones are Littrow configuration, Littman-Metcalf configuration and cateye configuration. On the other hand, an external cavity with high finesse also ensures small linewidth down to several kHz, which is essential for applications demanding high precision about target wavelength, such as interaction with cold atoms.
The anti-reflection (AR) coated gain chips (RWE product family) is specially designed for ECDL setups. Comparing to conventional Fabry-Perot laser diodes, the high quality AR coating suppresses the intrinsic mode brought by laser chip and allow broader tuning range and more stable locking of certain frequency mode.
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