Synthesizing Light: New Tools, Wavelengths and Opportunities

Synthesizing Light: New Tools, Wavelengths and Opportunities (Prof. Dr. Scott Diddams)

  • Date: Dec 11, 2018
  • Time: 14:30
  • Speaker: Prof. Dr. Scott Diddams
  • National Institute of Standards and Technology and University of Colorado, Department of Physics, Boulder, Colorado, USA
  • Location: Max-Planck-Institut für Quantenoptik
  • Room: Hörsaal, Raum B 0.32 / New lecture hall, Room B 0.32
  • Host: Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics
Frequency synthesis is ubiquitous in all aspects of our modern technological society, with examples being found in wide ranging applications from computing, communications and navigation systems to sensors and scientific instrumentation. Historically, the generation and precise control of electromagnetic radiation has been confined to the radio frequency and microwave domains. How­ever, optical frequency combs, first introduced by Prof. T.W. Hänsch, dramatically expand the synthesis bandwidth to cover the entire terahertz and optical domains as well.

In this talk, I will highlight some of the new laser tools and synthesis applications being pursued at NIST in Boulder. This includes simple, table-top approaches to generate frequency combs with brightness and bandwidth that rival the infra­red spectrum available from a synchrotron. These new infrared combs are being used to explore opportunities in molecular fingerprinting and microscopic spectro-chemical identification. In addition, I will describe our advances in light synthesizers based on parametric oscillation in low-loss micro­resonators, that now enable phase-coherent microwave-to-optical frequency synthesis on a photonic-integrated-chip. Finally, I will provide an update on a new 30 GHz near-infrared electro-optic frequency comb that has been running continuously for the past six months at the McDonald Observatory where it is being used with the Habitable Zone Planet Finder to search for exoplanets around nearby M-dwarfs, the most prevalent class of stars in our galaxy.

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