ABSTRACT: The spectrum of a laser frequency comb consists of several hundred thousand equally spaced lines over a broad spectral bandwidth. Such frequency combs have revolutionized optical frequency metrology and they now hold much promise for significant advances in a growing number of applications including molecular spectroscopy. Despite an intriguing potential for the measurement of molecular spectra spanning tens of nanometres within tens of microseconds at Doppler-limited resolution, the development of dual-comb spectroscopy is hindered by the demanding stability requirements of the laser combs. Here we overcome this difficulty and experimentally demonstrate a concept of real-time dual-comb spectroscopy, which compensates for laser instabilities by electronic signal processing. It only uses free-running mode-locked lasers without any phase-lock electronics. We record spectra spanning the full bandwidth of near-infrared fibre lasers with Doppler-limited line profiles highly suitable for measurements of concentrations or line intensities. Our new technique of adaptive dual-comb spectroscopy offers a powerful transdisciplinary instrument for analytical sciences.
Project description:Since their inception, optical frequency combs have transformed a broad range of technical and scientific disciplines, spanning time keeping to navigation. Recently, dual comb spectroscopy has emerged as an attractive alternative to traditional Fourier transform spectroscopy, since it offers higher measurement sensitivity in a fraction of the time. Midwave infrared (mid-IR) frequency combs are especially promising as an effective means for probing the strong fundamental absorption lines of numerous chemical and biological agents. Mid-IR combs have been realized via frequency down-conversion of a near-IR comb, by optical pumping of a micro-resonator, and beyond 7 ?m by four-wave mixing in a quantum cascade laser. In this work, we demonstrate an electrically-driven frequency comb source that spans more than 1?THz of bandwidth centered near 3.6 ?m. This is achieved by passively mode-locking an interband cascade laser (ICL) with gain and saturable absorber sections monolithically integrated on the same chip. The new source will significantly enhance the capabilities of mid-IR multi-heterodyne frequency comb spectroscopy systems.
Project description:Laser frequency combs emit a spectrum with hundreds of thousands of evenly spaced phase-coherent narrow lines. A comb-enabled instrument, the dual-comb interferometer, exploits interference between two frequency combs and attracts considerable interest in precision spectroscopy and sensing, distance metrology, tomography, telecommunications, etc. Mutual coherence between the two combs over the measurement time is a pre-requisite to interferometry, although it is instrumentally challenging. At best, the mutual coherence reaches about 1?s. Computer-based phase-correction techniques, which often lead to artifacts and worsened precision, must be implemented for longer averaging times. Here with feed-forward relative stabilization of the carrier-envelope offset frequencies, we experimentally realize a mutual coherence over times approaching 2000?s, more than three orders of magnitude longer than that of state-of-the-art dual-comb systems. An illustration is given with near-infrared Fourier transform molecular spectroscopy with two combs of slightly different repetition frequencies. Our technique without phase correction can be implemented with any frequency comb generator including microresonators or semiconductor lasers.
Project description:Dual terahertz (THz) comb spectroscopy enables high spectral resolution, high spectral accuracy, and broad spectral coverage; however, the requirement for dual stabilized femtosecond lasers hampers its versatility. We here report the first demonstration of dual THz comb spectroscopy using a single free-running fibre laser. By tuning the cavity-loss-dependent gain profile with an intracavity Lyot filter together with precise management of the cavity length and dispersion, dual-wavelength comb light beams with slightly detuned repetition frequencies are generated in a single laser cavity. Due to sharing of the same cavity, such comb light beams suffer from common-mode fluctuation of the repetition frequency, and hence the corresponding frequency difference between them is passively stable around a few hundred hertz within millihertz fluctuation. While greatly reducing the size, complexity, and cost of the laser source by use of a single free-running fibre laser, the dual THz comb spectroscopy system maintains a spectral bandwidth and dynamic range of spectral power comparable to a system equipped with dual stabilized fibre lasers, and can be effectively applied to high-precision spectroscopy of acetonitrile gas at atmospheric pressure. The demonstrated results indicate that this system is an attractive solution for practical applications of THz spectroscopy and other applications.
Project description:Dual-comb spectroscopy is a powerful technique for real-time, broadband optical sampling of molecular spectra, which requires no moving components. Recent developments with microresonator-based platforms have enabled frequency combs at the chip scale. However, the need to precisely match the resonance wavelengths of distinct high quality-factor microcavities has hindered the development of on-chip dual combs. We report the simultaneous generation of two microresonator combs on the same chip from a single laser, drastically reducing experimental complexity. We demonstrate broadband optical spectra spanning 51 THz and low-noise operation of both combs by deterministically tuning into soliton mode-locked states using integrated microheaters, resulting in narrow (<10 kHz) microwave beat notes. We further use one comb as a reference to probe the formation dynamics of the other comb, thus introducing a technique to investigate comb evolution without auxiliary lasers or microwave oscillators. We demonstrate high signal-to-noise ratio absorption spectroscopy spanning 170 nm using the dual-comb source over a 20-?s acquisition time. Our device paves the way for compact and robust spectrometers at nanosecond time scales enabled by large beat-note spacings (>1 GHz).
Project description:Dissipative Kerr solitons (DKS) in optical microresonators provide a highly miniaturised, chip-integrated frequency comb source with unprecedentedly high repetition rates and spectral bandwidth. To date, such frequency comb sources have been successfully applied in the optical telecommunication band for dual-comb spectroscopy, coherent telecommunications, counting of optical frequencies and distance measurements. Yet, the range of applications could be significantly extended by operating in the near-infrared spectral domain, which is a prerequisite for biomedical and Raman imaging applications, and hosts commonly used optical atomic transitions. Here we show the operation of photonic-chip-based soliton Kerr combs driven with 1?micron laser light. By engineering the dispersion properties of a Si3N4 microring resonator, octave-spanning soliton Kerr combs extending to 776?nm are attained, thereby covering the optical biological imaging window. Moreover, we show that soliton states can be generated in normal group-velocity dispersion regions when exploiting mode hybridisation with other mode families.
Project description:Optical frequency combs-coherent light sources that connect optical frequencies with microwave oscillations-have become the enabling tool for precision spectroscopy, optical clockwork, and attosecond physics over the past decades. Current benchmark systems are self-referenced femtosecond mode-locked lasers, but Kerr nonlinear dynamics in high-Q solid-state microresonators has recently demonstrated promising features as alternative platforms. The advance not only fosters studies of chip-scale frequency metrology but also extends the realm of optical frequency combs. We report the full stabilization of chip-scale optical frequency combs. The microcomb's two degrees of freedom, one of the comb lines and the native 18-GHz comb spacing, are simultaneously phase-locked to known optical and microwave references. Active comb spacing stabilization improves long-term stability by six orders of magnitude, reaching a record instrument-limited residual instability of [Formula: see text]. Comparing 46 nitride frequency comb lines with a fiber laser frequency comb, we demonstrate the unprecedented microcomb tooth-to-tooth relative frequency uncertainty down to 50 mHz and 2.7 × 10(-16), heralding novel solid-state applications in precision spectroscopy, coherent communications, and astronomical spectrography.
Project description:Optical frequency combs, consisting of well-controlled equidistant frequency lines, have been widely used in precision spectroscopy and metrology. Terahertz combs have been realized in quantum cascade lasers (QCLs) by employing either an active mode-locking or phase seeding technique, or a dispersion compensator mirror. However, it remains a challenge to achieve the passive comb formation in terahertz semiconductor lasers due to the insufficient nonlinearities of conventional saturable absorbers. Here, a passive terahertz frequency comb is demonstrated by coupling a multilayer graphene sample into a QCL compound cavity. The terahertz modes are self-stabilized with intermode beat note linewidths down to a record of 700 Hz and the comb operation of graphene-coupled QCLs is validated by on-chip dual-comb measurements. Furthermore, the optical pulse emitted from the graphene-coupled QCL is directly measured employing a terahertz pump-probe technique. The enhanced passive frequency comb operation is attributed to the saturable absorption behavior of the graphene-integrated saturable absorber mirror, as well as the dispersion compensation introduced by the graphene sample. The results provide a conceptually different graphene-based approach for passive comb formation in terahertz QCLs, opening up intriguing opportunities for fast and high-precision terahertz spectroscopy and nonlinear photonics.
Project description:Microresonator solitons are critical to miniaturize optical frequency combs to chip scale and have the potential to revolutionize spectroscopy, metrology and timing. With the reduction of resonator diameter, high repetition rates up to 1 THz become possible, and they are advantageous to wavelength multiplexing, coherent sampling, and self-referencing. However, the detection of comb repetition rate, the precursor to all comb-based applications, becomes challenging at these repetition rates due to the limited bandwidth of photodiodes and electronics. Here, we report a dual-comb Vernier frequency division method to vastly reduce the required electrical bandwidth. Free-running 216 GHz "Vernier" solitons sample and divide the main soliton's repetition frequency from 197 GHz to 995 MHz through electrical processing of a pair of low frequency dual-comb beat notes. Our demonstration relaxes the instrumentation requirement for microcomb repetition rate detection, and could be applied for optical clocks, optical frequency division, and microwave photonics.
Project description:An optical frequency comb generated with an electro-optic phase modulator and a chirped radiofrequency waveform is used to perform pump-probe spectroscopy on the D1 and D2 transitions of atomic potassium at 770.1 nm and 766.7 nm, respectively. With a comb tooth spacing of 200 kHz and an optical bandwidth of 2 GHz the hyperfine transitions can be simultaneously observed. Interferograms are recorded in as little as 5 ?s (a timescale corresponding to the inverse of the comb tooth spacing). Importantly, the sub-Doppler features can be measured as long as the laser carrier frequency lies within the Doppler profile, thus removing the need for slow scanning or a priori knowledge of the frequencies of the sub-Doppler features. Sub-Doppler optical frequency comb spectroscopy has the potential to dramatically reduce acquisition times and allow for rapid and accurate assignment of complex molecular and atomic spectra which are presently intractable.
Project description:Terahertz (THz) dual comb spectroscopy (DCS) is a promising method for high-accuracy, high-resolution, broadband THz spectroscopy because the mode-resolved THz comb spectrum includes both broadband THz radiation and narrow-line CW-THz radiation characteristics. In addition, all frequency modes of a THz comb can be phase-locked to a microwave frequency standard, providing excellent traceability. However, the need for stabilization of dual femtosecond lasers has often hindered its wide use. To overcome this limitation, here we have demonstrated adaptive-sampling THz-DCS, allowing the use of free-running femtosecond lasers. To correct the fluctuation of the time and frequency scales caused by the laser timing jitter, an adaptive sampling clock is generated by dual THz-comb-referenced spectrum analysers and is used for a timing clock signal in a data acquisition board. The results not only indicated the successful implementation of THz-DCS with free-running lasers but also showed that this configuration outperforms standard THz-DCS with stabilized lasers due to the slight jitter remained in the stabilized lasers.