Abstract

Details for constructing an astronomical frequency comb suitable as a wavelength reference for échelle spectrographs associated with optical telescopes are outlined. The source laser for the frequency comb is a harmonically mode-locked fiber laser with a central wavelength of 1.56μm. The means of producing a repetition rate greater than 7GHz and a peak optical power of 8kW are discussed. Conversion of the oscillator light into the visible can occur through a two-step process of (i) nonlinear conversion in periodically poled lithium niobate and (ii) spectral broadening in photonic crystal fiber. While not necessarily octave spanning in spectral range to permit the use of an f -to- 2f interferometer for offset frequency control, the frequency comb can be granted accuracy by linking the mode spacing and a comb tooth to separate frequency references. The design avoids the use of a Fabry–Perot cavity to increase the mode spacing of the frequency comb; however, the level of supermode suppression and sideband asymmetry in the fiber oscillator and in the subsequent frequency conversion stages are aspects that need to be experimentally tested.

© 2009 Optical Society of America

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