Revisiting the limits of photon momentum based optical power measurement method, employing the case of multi-reflected laser beam

In this work, we review the viability and precision of the photon-momentum-based optical power measurement method that employs an amplification effect caused by a multi-reflected laser beam trapped in an optical cavity. Measuring the total momentum transfer of the absorbed and re-emitted photons from a highly reflective surface (reflection of the laser beam from an optical mirror) as a force provides the possibility of measuring the optical power with direct traceability to SI units. Trial measurements were performed at two different metrology laboratories: the laboratory for mass/force at the Technical University of Ilmenau, and the clean room laser radiometry laboratory at PTB, with a portable force measurement setup consisting of two electromagnetic force compensation balances. We compared the results of the optical power measurements performed with the force measurement setup, via the photon-momentum-based method, with those performed using a calibrated reference standard detector traceable to PTB's primary standard for optical power, the cryogenic radiometer. The comparison was carried out for an optical power range between 1 W and 10 W at a wavelength of 532 nm, which corresponds to a force of approximately 2000 nN at the upper limit, yielding approximately 2.3% relative standard uncertainty in the case of 33 reflections. Thus, conflating the high-precision force metrology technique at [my]N to nN levels with the optical setup required to achieve specular multi-reflection configuration of the laser beam, where a macroscopic optical cavity with ultra-high reflective mirrors (>99.995%) can adjustably be suspended from the force sensors, depending on required geometry of reflections, we show that the uncertainty of the optical power measurements upon further increase of the nominally applied optical power, the number of laser beam reflections, or the reflectivity coefficient of the mirrors can be markedly reduced.


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