Advances in optical frequency combs and their applications

17.11.2016, 14:00

Professor Scott Diddams, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Boulder, USA

In the past decade we have witnessed significant advances associated with the frequency stabilization of the comb present in the output of a mode-locked femtosecond laser. While proving itself to be fantastically successful in its role as the "gears" of optical atomic clocks, the optical frequency comb has further evolved into a valuable tool for a wide range of applications, including ultraviolet and infrared spectroscopy, frequency synthesis, optical and microwave waveform generation, astronomical spectrograph calibration, and attosecond pulse generation, to name a few. In this talk, I will trace our progress on some of these applications, and highlight the laser and nonlinear optics advances that have made them possible. In addition, I will attempt to offer a perspective on the challenges and opportunities for frequency combs that might lie ahead. Along these lines, I will describe recent research into a new class of parametric frequency combs that are based on monolithic microresonators. Such microcomb devices are compatible with semiconductor processing and could be further integrated with other photonic and electronic components on a silicon chip. In the future, such technology may bring the precision, flexibility, and measurement power of frequency combs to a wide range of new and emerging applications beyond the confines of the research laboratory.