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Lasers for Ultrafast Metrology and Optical Spectroscopy (LUMOS)

See more photos of LUMOS in our Photo Gallery.

LUMOS is not just a spell for producing light, but the Lasers for Ultrafast Metrology and Optical Spectroscopy facility in the James R. Macdonald Laboratory. The goals of LUMOS are to understand the fundamental physics of non-linear optics and to refine the art of precision measurement. The heart of this effort, and of LUMOS, is the optical frequency comb.

An optical frequency comb is a very precise tool for measuring different colors, or frequencies, of light. Stable optical frequency combs can be made by sending ultrafast laser pulses through specialty optical fibers. This generates a rainbow of optical frequencies called a supercontinuum. The properties of the rainbow spectrum that emerges from the fiber can be measured and used to stabilize the ultrafast laser. The stable pulse train, when amplified, can be used for atomic physics experiments.

In addition, the broad spectrum is actually a comb of optical frequencies that spans the visible or near-infrared end of the spectrum. When stabilized, this comb forms a frequency "ruler" that can be used to measure unknown optical frequencies to very high precision.

The LUMOS optical frequency comb will be used to make precise measurements of optical frequencies in molecular gases important for frequency standards in the telecommunications industry. By confining these gases in novel photonic bandgap fibers, precise saturation spectroscopy can be performed, toward improving the convenience and accuracy of these standards.

LUMOS is headed by Professor Kristan Corwin.

Last updated on Thursday, 20-Feb-2014