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Nat Commun. 2012;3:1040. doi: 10.1038/ncomms2048.

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

Author information

  • 1LENS, European Laboratory for NonLinear Spectroscopy, Via N. Carrara 1, Sesto Fiorentino (FI) I-50019, Italy. luigi.consolino@ino.it

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 LiNbO(3) 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.

PMID:
22948822
[PubMed]
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