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Fiber Sources and Applications Group

The group's primary thrusts are the development and application of fiber-laser frequency combs to optical clocks, frequency transfer, ranging, and precision spectroscopy. Specific recent work includes development of a robust, fieldable frequency comb, synchronization of distant clocks to femtosecond timing, and the application of “dual-comb spectroscopy” to atmospheric gas detection across open paths.

NIST researchers
Investigating colors in the wind — NIST researchers expand beyond a current spectroscopy technique for measuring greenhouse gases to now detect volatile organic compounds in the atmosphere. Posted on Facebook on Saturday, January 23, 2021.

Optical frequency combs are a unique laser source that combine wide spectral coverage with high coherence, permitting high precision optical measurements. This project aims to develop the technology for a growing list of applications, with a particular focus on important applications that lie outside the optical metrology laboratory. By taking advantage of components developed for optical telecommunications, project physicists have developed robust frequency comb designs capable of high-performance operation in the field outside the laboratory. They have demonstrated how pairs of combs can be used for chemical analysis and developed open-path atmospheric sensing techniques capable of precise and accurate measurements of atmospheric greenhouse and trace gases. They have demonstrated new methods for precision optical time transfer that can transmit signals from next-generation optical atomic clocks across long distances and enable next generation optical clock networks. They have shown how frequency-comb based LIDAR can provide absolute ranging with high precision as well as surface profiling. Finally, they continue to explore areas where the accuracy and precision of frequency combs can provide new capabilities in metrology and sensing.

Press Coverage

Combing a Herd for Methane Emissions

American Physical Society
Specialized light beams called frequency combs could help detect greenhouse-gas emissions from livestock with greater precision than existing methods.

News and Updates


Fiber-optic Frequency Comb Development

To support comb-based measurements outside the metrology laboratory, we develop high performance, robust frequency combs based on fiber-optic technology.