November 2014

Dream Frequency-comb Applications Become Reality

By Adam J. Fleisher | Posted: 21 November 2014

It’s been 15 years since the seminal papers demonstrating phase-stable self-referenced frequency combs invigorated the fields of optical metrology and precision molecular spectroscopy, from which numerous fundamental measurements in atomic, molecular, and optical physics have evolved. This achievement was recognized for its significance in 2005 when Theodor Hänsch, Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics, Garching, Germany, and John Hall, JILA, NIST and University of Colorado, USA were awarded half the Nobel Prize in Physics.

Since then, several dream frequency comb applications have recently become a reality. As summarized in the morning of day two by Ronald Holzwarth, Max Plank Institute for Quantum Optics, Garching, Germany, fiber-based optically flat frequency combs that span almost the entire visible spectrum with large mode spacing (~25 GHz) make fantastic astrocombs: calibration devices that when installed on-site at the world’s most powerful telescopes aid in the hunt for exoplanets similar in size and composition to Earth.

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Frequency combing through the noise

By Adam J. Fleisher | Posted: 21 November 2014

Following a full day of discussions at the OSA Incubator Meeting on Quantitative Modeling of Frequency-comb Sources, a few keys areas where theoretical models could aid in instrument design have been identified. Can global models beginning from first principles identify performance limits of frequency comb systems? Is there truly a need to move beyond current analytical models followed by brute-force numerical modeling using an application-dependent set of user-defined parameters to predict laser performance?

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Quantitative Modeling of Frequency-comb Sources

By Adam J. Fleisher | Posted: 20 November 2014

At their headquarters in Washington, DC The Optical Society is hosting another intimate Incubator bringing together experts in industry, academia, and federal research sectors to discuss relevant and emerging topics in optics and photonics. The focus of this Incubator meeting, running November 20-21, is on Quantitative Modeling of Frequency-comb Sources. As defined by meeting host Cutis Menyuk, University of Maryland-Baltimore County (UMBC), quantitative modeling of pulsed lasers should reproduce, or, better yet, actually predict experimental observations at the level of precision provided by the measurements themselves.

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Hot making cold with optics for energy

By Jonathan Tong | Posted: 20 November 2014

On the second day of the OSA Incubator on the Fundamental Limits of Optical Energy Conversion the discussion shifted towards control and use of thermal radiation for power generation and cooling.

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Developments in Optics for Energy Conversion

By Jonathan Tong | Posted: 18 November 2014

The first day of the Fundamental Limits of Optical Energy Conversion Incubator as full of intriguing talks on a myriad of topics related to optical energy conversion.

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OSA Incubator on the Fundamental Limits of Optical Energy Conversion

By Jonathan Tong | Posted: 13 November 2014

The conversion of light to electricity or heat is a crucial process towards developing more sustainable, environmentally friendly technologies that will offset our reliance on traditional fossil fuels. Indeed, the rapid growth in the photovoltaics industry in recent years is just one example that points towards the ever increasing role of light-based energy conversion technologies in the future landscape. However, current devices fall well short of true fundamental limits (Carnot, Landsberg); thus, there are still many aspects of optical energy conversion that need further exploration in order to develop higher performing, more efficient technologies.

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