Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Frequency combs for sniffing molecules

11.01.2013
Tiny crystalline resonators produce mid-infrared frequency combs for fingerprinting of molecules.

Most molecules, including those of importance in medical diagnostics or pollution monitoring, have characteristic “fingerprints” in the mid-infrared spectral region. However, state-of-the-art mid-infrared frequency comb techniques require systems that are often costly and limited in their applications.

In an article just published in Nature Communications (January 8th, 2013), scientists of the Laser Spectroscopy Division of the Max-Plank-Institute of Quantum Optics, in a collaboration with the Ecole Polytechnique de Lausanne (Switzerland), the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich, the Menlo Systems GmbH and the Institut des Sciences Moléculaires d’Orsay (France), have demonstrated the generation of mid-infrared frequency combs with small crystalline micro-resonators. Such miniaturized instruments, which can detect and characterize such molecules quickly and with high sensitivity, could revolutionize many areas of science and technology.

Optical frequency comb generators are coherent light sources, which produce a “comb” of many precisely evenly spaced spectral lines. During the last decade, such combs have revolutionized the art of measuring the frequency of light, as recognized in 2005 by the award of the Physics Nobel Prize to Prof. Theodor W. Hänsch. Today frequency combs are becoming enabling tools for new and unexpected applications. In particular, frequency combs are strongly impacting molecular spectroscopy by dramatically improving the recording speed, the resolution and the accuracy of Fourier spectrometers. The mid-infrared spectral range, also called molecular fingerprint region, is of primary importance to molecular physics. However, as reviewed in an article* published in the July 2012 issue of Nature Photonics, emerging mid-infrared frequency comb techniques still need considerable improvements: the systems are often based on nonlinear frequency conversion of near-infrared laser sources, which makes them bulky, and their use is limited to specialists.

The new technique developed by a team of scientists at MPQ avoids these obstacles. Here, mid-infrared frequency comb radiation is generated by exciting whispering gallery modes in a small toroidal monolithic resonator. A crystalline micro-resonator with a quality-factor exceeding 109 is pumped by a continuous-wave laser. By a nonlinear process called four-wave mixing, it produces a broad comb spectrum consisting of discrete lines spaced by 100 GHz at mid-infrared wavelengths near 2.5 µm. “The remarkable characteristics of such comb generators are their small size, large line-spacing, high power per comb line, and efficient conversion,” says Dr. Christine Wang, the post-doc who has performed the experiment. “An appropriate choice of the material – here magnesium fluoride – and proper engineering are crucial to realize broad spectral span and low-phase noise, as required for frequency comb operation.” Such miniaturized sources hold much promise for on-chip frequency-comb spectrometers. The spectrum of the fundamental vibrations of liquid phase samples might be measured within a few nanoseconds with a similar refresh time!

*A. Schliesser, N. Picqué, T.W. Hänsch, Mid-infrared frequency combs, Nature Photonics 6, 440-449 (2012)

Original publication:
C.Y. Wang, T. Herr, P. Del’Haye, A. Schliesser, J. Hofer, R. Holzwarth, T.W. Hänsch, N. Picqué and T.J. Kippenberg
Mid-infrared optical frequency combs at 2.5 μm based on crystalline microresonators
Nature Communications 4, Article number: 1345, Issue of January 8th, 2013.
DOI: 10.1038/ncomms2335
Contact:
Prof. Dr. Theodor W. Hänsch
Max-Planck-Institute of Quantum Optics
Hans Kopfermann-Strasse 1
85748 Garching
Phone: +49 (0) 89 32905 -712
E-mail: t.w.haensch@mpq.mpg.de
Dr. Olivia Meyer-Streng
Press & Public Relations
Max-Planck-Institute of Quantum Optics
Phone: +49 (0) 89 32 905 -213
Fax: +49 (0) 89 32 905 -200
E-mail: olivia.meyer-streng@mpq.mpg.de
Dr. Nathalie Picqué
Max-Planck-Institute of Quantum Optics & Centre National de la Recherche
Scientifique
Phone: +49 (0) 89 32905 -290
E-mail: nathalie.picque@mpq.mpg.de
Prof. Tobias J. Kippenberg
Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements
Lausanne, Switzerland
Email: tobias.kippenberg@epfl.ch

Dr. Olivia Meyer-Streng | Max-Planck-Institut
Further information:
http://www.mpq.mpg.de

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Significantly more productivity in USP lasers
06.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT

nachricht Shape matters when light meets atom
05.12.2016 | Centre for Quantum Technologies at the National University of Singapore

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Simple processing technique could cut cost of organic PV and wearable electronics

06.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

3-D printed kidney phantoms aid nuclear medicine dosing calibration

06.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Robot on demand: Mobile machining of aircraft components with high precision

06.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>