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Demonstration of a HeNe/CH4-based optical molecular clock

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Abstract

We implement a simple optical clock based on the F22 P7, ν3 optical transition in methane. A single femtosecond laser’s frequency comb undergoes difference frequency generation to provide an IR comb at 3.39 µm 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 1.2×10-13 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.

© 2005 Optical Society of America

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