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Compact ultrafast waveguide lasers for frequency comb generation
Responsable du projet Thomas Südmeyer
   
Collaborateur Bertrand Charlet
   
Résumé Optical frequency combs act as extremely accurate rulers in the frequency domain and provide a phase-stable link between microwave and optical frequencies. Their invention revolutionized various fields in metrology and was honored by the 2005 Nobel Prize. Stabilized frequency combs have enabled huge progress in a wide range of areas, for instance precision metrology and spectroscopy, calibration of astronomical spectrometers, waveform synthesis, stable microwave generation and optical clocks.
In nearly all application studies presented so far, the frequency combs were generated by femtosecond lasers based on relatively complex and expensive technologies, which appear not suitable for cost-efficient mass production. All commercially available frequency comb systems rely on fiber or titanium sapphire lasers with a relatively large overall system size and costs well above 100 kEuros. Replacing the existing ultrafast sources by a different technology with a higher level of integration appears mandatory to enable wide-spread applications.
Ultrafast dielectric waveguide lasers are one of the most promising technologies for compact ultrastable frequency comb generation. These lasers combine advantages of ion-doped solid-state and semiconductor lasers, achieving high output powers with excellent beam quality and enabling a waver-scale production with a high level of integration. In addition, the high mechanical stability enables low-noise operation with low timing jitter. Recently, several research groups reported high continuous-wave output powers from gain materials operating at a laser wavelength around 1-µm with a sufficiently large bandwidth for the generation of femtosecond pulses. However, these high power waveguides have not been modelocked so far. Previous modelocking of dielectric waveguides has been restricted to less than <100 mW average power, which was achieved in Yb-doped glass waveguides operating in the 1-µm regime. The low peak power levels of these sources are not suitable for direct frequency comb stabilization, because the usual f-to-2f self-referencing scheme relies on the generation of an octave-spanning spectrum by means of nonlinear spectral broadening.
In this proposal, we target the realization of modelocked waveguide lasers with record-high peak power and want to explore their suitability for octave-spanning supercontinuum generation and frequency comb metrology. Given the recent progress in waveguide lasers in terms of output power and gain materials, we want to achieve this ambitious goal as fast as possible; therefore we will join forces with other leading institutes in the field. We expect that the realized ultrafast waveguide combs will be a major step towards compact frequency comb generation in a fully-integrated system.
   
Mots-clés Métrologie, Lasers à guide d'onde, Peignes de fréquence optique, Génération de spectre supercontinuum, Laser
   
Type de projet Recherche fondamentale
Domaine de recherche Physique, lasers
Source de financement FNS - Encouragement de projets (Div. I-III)
Etat Terminé
Début de projet 1-4-2013
Fin du projet 31-8-2015
Budget alloué 400'000.00
Contact Thomas Südmeyer