Letter abstract


Nature Photonics 4, 636 - 640 (2010)
Published online: 20 June 2010 | doi:10.1038/nphoton.2010.125

Subject Categories: Lasers, LEDs and light sources | Quantum optics

Phase-locking of a 2.7-THz quantum cascade laser to a mode-locked erbium-doped fibre laser

Stefano Barbieri1, Pierre Gellie1, Giorgio Santarelli2, Lu Ding1, Wilfried Maineult1, Carlo Sirtori1, Raffaele Colombelli3, Harvey Beere4 & David Ritchie4


Mode-locked femtosecond lasers have revolutionized the field of optical metrology by allowing the realization of ultra-stable phase-coherent links between the optical-frequency domain and the radiofrequency range1, 2, 3, 4. In this work we have used the electro-optic effect in ZnTe (ref. 5) to demonstrate that the frequency and the phase of a 2.7 THz quantum cascade laser6 can be actively stabilized to the nth harmonic of the 90 MHz repetition rate (frep) of a commercial, mode-locked erbium-doped fibre laser7. The beating between the stabilized quantum cascade laser frequency and the harmonic of frep yield a signal-to-noise ratio of 80 dB in a bandwidth of 1 Hz. The technique is inherently broadband, that is, it is applicable to any quantum cascade laser source provided that its frequency falls within the spectral bandwidth of the femtosecond laser (~5 THz)8, 9. Furthermore, it is an ideal tool with which to control the phase of different quantum cascade lasers using light and compact fibre technology rather than superconducting bolometer mixers10, 11.

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  1. Laboratoire Matériaux et Phénomènes Quantiques, Université Paris 7and CNRS UMR 7162, 10 rue A. Domont et L. Duquet, 75205 Paris, France
  2. LNE-SYRTE, CNRS, UPMC, Observatoire de Paris, 61 avenue de l'Observatoire, 75014 Paris, France
  3. Institut d'Electronique Fondamentale, Université Paris Sud and CNRS, UMR 8622, 91405 Orsay, France
  4. Cavendish Laboratory, J. J. Thomson Avenue, Cambridge CB3 0HE, United Kingdom

Correspondence to: Stefano Barbieri1 e-mail: stefano.barbieri@univ-paris-diderot.fr



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