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Opt Lett. 2005 Mar 1;30(5):570-2.

Demonstration of a HeNe/CH4-based optical molecular clock.

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JILA, National Institute of Standards and Technology and University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado 80309-0440, USA.


We implement a simple optical clock based on the F2(2) [P(7), v3] optical transition in methane. A single femtosecond laser's frequency comb undergoes difference frequency generation to provide an IR comb at 3.39 microm with a null carrier-envelope offset. This IR comb provides a phase-coherent link between the 88-THz optical reference and the rf repetition rate. Comparison of the repetition rate signal with a second femtosecond comb stabilized to molecular iodine shows an instability of 1.2 x 10(-13) at 1 s, limited by microwave detection of the repetition rates. The single-sideband phase noise of the microwave signal, normalized to a carrier frequency of 1 GHz, is below -93 dBc/Hz at 1-Hz offset.


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