Ultra-broadband dual-branch optical frequency comb with 10e-18 instability


A. Rolland and P. Li and N. Kuse and J. Jiang and M. Cassinerio and C. Langrock and M. E. Fermann


Coherently bridging across wide spectral regions in the optical domain with ultra-high precision will enable progress in optical spectroscopy and time and frequency metrology. We report optical frequency synthesis at the 10\&\#x2212;18 instability level based on a novel technique actively canceling the differential phase noise of a dual-branch Er-fiber based optical frequency comb spanning 500\&\#x2013;2200\&\#x00A0;nm. We validate the method with an out-of-loop measurement demonstrating the stability transfer from 1560\&\#x00A0;nm to 780\&\#x00A0;nm with an instability level at 3\&\#x00D7;10\&\#x2212;18 at 1\&\#x00A0;s averaging time and 1\&\#x00D7;10\&\#x2212;19 at 1000\&\#x00A0;s (approximately averaging on 1\&\#x00D7;10\&\#x2212;17/\&\#x03C4;), limited mainly by uncompensated optical interferometers used to detect optical beatnotes. To confirm this limitation, we propose an experimental setup that eliminates the excess noise induced by uncompensated optical paths and show that the proposed method exhibits an ultimate unprecedented instability level at 6\&\#x00D7;10\&\#x2212;19 at 1\&\#x00A0;s averaging time when two optical signals can share a common photodetector. The system realized becomes a powerful and universal tool for optical frequency comparison and spectral purity transfer across the visible and infrared domains.