Scientific Results

Phase-locking to a free-space terahertz comb for metrological-grade terahertz lasers

Year: 2012

Authors: Consolino L., Taschin A., Bartolini P., Bartalini S., Cancio P., Tredicucci A., Beere H.E., Ritchie D.A., Torre R., Vitiello M.S., De Natale P.

Autors Affiliation: LENS, European Laboratory for NonLinear Spectroscopy, Via N. Carrara 1, Sesto Fiorentino (FI) I-50019, Italy;
INO, Istituto Nazionale di Ottica – CNR, Largo E. Fermi 6, Firenze I-50125, Italy;
NEST, Istituto Nanoscienze – CNR and Scuola Normale Superiore, Piazza San Silvestro 12, Pisa I-56127, Italy;
Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge, J J Thomson Avenue, Cambridge CB3 0HE, UK;
Dipartimento di Fisica e Astronomia, Università
di Firenze, Via G. Sansone 1, Sesto Fiorentino, Firenze I-50019, Italy

Abstract: Optical frequency comb synthesizers have represented a revolutionary approach to frequency metrology, providing a grid of frequency references for any laser emitting within their spectral coverage. Extending the metrological features of optical frequency comb synthesizers to the terahertz domain would be a major breakthrough, due to the widespread range of accessible strategic applications and the availability of stable, high-power and widely tunable sources such as quantum cascade lasers. Here we demonstrate phase-locking of a 2.5 THz quantum cascade laser to a free-space comb, generated in a LiNbO3 waveguide and covering the 0.1-6 THz frequency range. We show that even a small fraction (< 100 nW) of the radiation emitted from the quantum cascade laser is sufficient to generate a beat note suitable for phase-locking to the comb, paving the way to novel metrological-grade terahertz applications, including high-resolution spectroscopy, manipulation of cold molecules, astronomy and telecommunications. Journal/Review: NATURE COMMUNICATIONS

Volume: 3      Pages from: 1040  to: 1040

More Information: This research has been performed at LENS with the support of an EC grant No. RII3-CT-2003-506350 and COST Action MP0902-COINAPO. It was partly funded by Ente Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze and by Regione Toscana, through the project CTOTUS, in the framework of POR-CReO FESR 2007-2013 and by the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR) through the program \’FIRB-Futuro in Ricerca 2010\’ RBFR10LULP \’Fundamental research on terahertz photonic devices\’. We acknowledge G. Ferrari for his valuable contribution to the waveguide design and L. Mahler for the QCL fabrication. We also thank A. Montori for the development of the QCL current driver and N. Poli for lending a tunable filter.
KeyWords: Quantum chemistry; Spectroscopy; Telecommunication; Terahertz imaging; High-resolution spectroscopy; Quantum-cascade lasers; Frequency comb; Direct link
DOI: 10.1038/ncomms2048

Citations: 67
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English