Available student project - An optical ruler across a fibre optic network

Research fields

  • Photonics, Lasers and Nonlinear Optics
  • Engineering in Physics

Project details

An optical frequency comb is an ultra-short pulsed laser whose repitition rate is locked to the accuracy of an atomic clock, such as those based on the electronic transition frequencies of Rubidium and Caesium.  This pulse train in the time domain is represented as a "comb" of frequencies in the Fourier domain.  The stability of the wavelength and hence frequency of each "tooth" in the comb is then also referenced to the atomic clock, thus tying the three important standards of time, length and frequency.  

In this project, we will use a commercial turn-key frequency comb, which spans the visible and infra-red spectrum, as an absolute frequency reference.  The aim is to develop a stabilisation scheme for an auxilliary laser using this reference to make ultra-high resolution displacement measurements for instrumentation in gravitational wave physics.  

In a different application, we aim to use heterodyne interferometry involving an auxilliary laser referenced to the frequency comb to facilitate ultra-precise lineshape measurements of molecular optical absorption transitions.

One exciting prospect is to distribute these frequency stablised optical sources across a building, or between remotely separated laboratories using optical fibres.  It is known that a length of fibre can introduce random Doppler shifts to the laser frequency.  We aim to design and implement a system to cancel these remote delivery noise sources using digital signal processing.

Required background

Electromagnetism, knowledge of optical physics

Project suitability

This research project can be tailored to suit students of the following type(s)
  • PhB (2nd or 3rd year)
  • Honours project
  • Phd or Masters

Contact supervisor

Chow, Jong profile
Convenor for Photonics Program

Other supervisor(s)

Slagmolen, Bram profile
Research Fellow
Lam, Timothy profile
Postdoctoral Fellow
Dong, Jarrod profile
PhD Student

Updated:  17 August 2017/ Responsible Officer:  Director, RSPE/ Page Contact:  Physics Webmaster