Short Course Overview

Fundamentals of Optical Frequency Comb Technology and Applications

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Monday, November 2, 2015
7:30 A.M. Coffee
8:00 A.M. - 12:30 P.M. Short Course

Beckman Institute Auditorium
California Institute of Technology
Pasadena, CA 91125
(flyer .pdf)


  • Dr. Scott Diddams -NIST - Fundamentals of Optical Frequency Comb Technology
  • Dr. Nathan Newbury - NIST - Applications of Optical Frequency Comb Technology
  • Dr. Mike Shao – JPL/Caltech, and Dr. Carl Weimer – Ball Aerospace - Space Flight Considerations for Precision Optical Instrumentation


The advent of optical frequency combs (OFCs) has created remarkable new capabilities in metrology, frequency synthesis, spectroscopy and timekeeping. An OFC  is an optical spectrum consisting of stability controlled, uniformly spaced lines. OFCs are central to a new generation of clocks that are 100 times more accurate than today's best time-keeping systems, enabling new capabilities for communication, navigation, and tests of fundamental science. Increasingly, OFCs are also impacting other application areas as well. Examples include high-resolution broad-band spectroscopy for trace gas detection, precision wavelength calibration in exoplanet detection, coherent control for study of ultrafast dynamics, and measurement improvements in space interferometry, reflectometry, and LIDAR. In addition, the miniaturization of OFC technology provided by microcombs offers a host of opportunities for instruments on landers, distributed spacecraft, and CubeSat-scale spacecraft in the next decade.

This short course on Optical Frequency Combs begins by describing the principles behind state-of-the-art frequency comb technology including the various methods of comb generation. Next, a description of current applications of OFCs is presented followed by an overview of the challenges and considerations needed for engineering space-based OFCs.

For questions contact: Kerry Vahala, Stephanie Leifer, Nan Yu,
Scott Diddams, or Michele Judd

Kerry Vahala

Kerry Vahala (Caltech)

Stephanie Leifer

Stephanie Leifer (JPL)

Nan Yu

Nan Yu (JPL)

Scott Diddams

Scott Diddams (NIST)