OSA Incubator on Quantitative Modeling of Frequency-comb Sources

OSA Incubator on Quantitative Modeling of Frequency-comb Sources

OSA Incubator on Quantitative Modeling of Frequency-comb Sources

19-21 November 2014
OSA Headquarters • 2010 Massachusetts Ave. NW • Washington, DC, USA


Thomas F. Carruthers, University of Maryland–Baltimore County, USA
Curtis Menyuk, University of Maryland–Baltimore County, USA
Nathan R. Newbury, National Institute of Standards and Technology, USA
Sergei Turitsyn, Aston University, United Kingdom
Stefan Wabnitz, University of Brescia, Italy

View Agenda

The purpose of this Incubator was to examine diverse sources of precision frequency combs and establish the basis for broadly applicable models of their operation, with the goal of understanding parameters that will enable optimized designs suited to real-world applications. It also investigated the effects of inherent and environmental noise and explored new wavelength ranges and different morphologies suited to different metrological applications.


Frequency combs are generated by carrier-envelope phase-stabilized mode-locked lasers, in which the optical carrier phase is locked to the repetition rate. When locked to a highly stable optical reference frequency, these optical sources produce a comb of optical pulses, with precisely known frequencies and repetition rates, spread over a bread spectral region. They have revolutionized the field of precision optical metrology and are finding increasingly broad applications. Recently optical microresonators have been found capable of generating precisely spaced frequency combs, and they represent another potential source for precision metrology.

Since frequency comb technology was first applied to the field of precision optical metrology there have been many advances: comb sources have evolved, new types of comb sources have been invented, and the range of applications has increased. As these sources move from being primarily large laboratory instruments focused strictly on optical metrology to becoming system components supporting a broader range of applications, the requirements on frequency combs become more stringent and varied. The remarkable frequency accuracy of individual comb lines is not the only important requirement, but the optical power output, spectral flatness, wavelength range, robustness, size, power requirements, and cost all become more important.

This incubator brought together researchers, engineers, government agencies and business leaders to discuss developing more quantitative and computationally efficient models toward determining key comb-laser parameters, with the goal of understanding how to engineer optimized comb systems that can meet performance requirements in a compact, power-efficient, and cost-effective source.