I gutted one of the $2 red laser pointers to build a laser source whose amplitude we could modulate at RF frequencies. Basically, I cut off the bulk of the housing from the pointer and soldered a BNC connection into the two terminals that the 2x 1.5V batteries were connected to. When I applied 3V across this BNC connector the diode still worked. So far so good.
Next I added a bias tee to the input. I put 3V across the DC input of the bias tee and added a -3dBm signal into the RF port of the tee. The laser beam was incident on a PDA100A (bandwidth of 1.7MHz) and, sure enough, Kiwamu and I could see a flat response in the amplitude at a given drive frequency out to around 1.7MHz.
We should check the response on a faster PD to see how fast the laser diode is, but we should be able to use this now to check the RF response of the green beat note PD.
1. Add some capacitors across the DC input of the bias tee.
2. Do something about the switch on the laser diode.
3. Attach some labels to the laser that specify what is the required DC voltage and the maximum acceptable RF modulation amplitude.