All-fiber frequency comb employing a single walled carbon nanotube saturable absorber for optical frequency metrology in near infrared



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Kansas State University


Optical frequency combs produced by mode-locked fiber lasers are useful tools for high precision frequency metrology and molecular spectroscopy in a robust and portable format. We have specifically investigated erbium doped fiber mode-locked lasers that use single-walled carbon nanotubes as a saturable absorber. We have, for the first time, developed and phase- stabilized a carbon nanotube fiber laser (CNFL) frequency comb. The carbon nanotube saturable absorber, which was fabricated using an optically driven deposition method, permits a high repetition frequency (>150 MHz) since an optical nonlinearity of fibers is not used for mode-locking. The CNFL comb combined with a parabolic pulse erbium doped fiber amplifier (EDFA) has shown a compact, robust, and cost-effective supercontinuum source. The amplified pulse from the parabolic pulse EDFA was compressed with a hollow-core photonic bandgap fiber, which produced a wave-breaking-free pulse with an all-fiber set-up. The stabilized comb has demonstrated a fractional instability of 1.2 ×10[superscript]-11 at 1 sec averaging time, the reference-limited instability. We have performed optical frequency metrology with the CNFL comb and have measured an optical frequency, P(13) which is a molecular overtone transition of C2H2. The measured frequency has shown a good agreement with the known value within an uncertainty of 10 kHz. In order to extend the application of the CNFL comb such as multi-heterodyne dual comb spectroscopy, we have investigated the noise of the CNFL comb and particularly, the broad carrier envelope offset frequency (f[subscript]0) linewidth of the CNFL comb. The primary noise source is shown to be white amplitude noise on the oscillator pump laser combined with the sensitivity of the mode-locked laser to pump power fluctuations. The control bandwidth of f[subscipt]0 was limited by the response dynamics of the CNFL comb. The significant reduction of comb noise has been observed by implementing a phase-lead compensation to extend control bandwidth of the comb and by reducing the pump relative intensity noise simultaneously. Therefore the f[subscipt]0 linewidth has been narrower from 850 kHz to 220 kHz. The integrated phase noise for the f[subscipt]0 lock is 1.6 radians from 100 Hz to 102 kHz.



Fiber laser frequency comb, Carbon nanotube saturable absorber, Optical frequency metrology

Graduation Month



Doctor of Philosophy


Department of Physics

Major Professor

Brian R. Washburn