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Duration: 6 months, Start: January 2014

Academic project leader: Ursula Keller, Institution: Ultrafast Laser Physics, IQE, ETH Zürich. Industrial project partner: Zurich Instruments - Sadik Hafizovic

SESAM modelocked gigahertz femtosecond high-power diode-pumped solid-state lasers (DPSSLs) as invented by the group of Prof. Ursula Keller exhibit an intrinsic low quantum noise level, making them an ideal and cost effective sources for optical frequency combs. However, carrier envelope offset (CEO) frequency stabilization of these high repetition rate lasers (GHz range) requires sophisticated control electronics.

Zurich Instruments is a company specialized on fast digital signal processing. This project explores ways to adapt Zurich Instruments' ultra fast lock-in amplifier UHFLI - also comprising multiple PID controllers and phased locked loops - to allow for CEO stabilization in this demanding regime.

A first set of measurements with a less demanding laser in the MHz range concluded successful and indicates that a further reduction of internal instrument delays to a minimum and the implementation of a larger lock-range by using phase unwrapping will increase the performance sufficient to cater also for lasers in the GHz range. This will ultimately lead to digitally-stabilized high-power gigahertz optical frequency combs for many applications in precision metrology, nonlinear spectroscopy and ultrafast optical communications.

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