OPTICAL METROLOGY: Electro-optical frequency division and stable microwave synthesis

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Optical frequency division by using frequency combs has revolutionized time keeping and the generation of stable microwave signals. We demonstrate optical frequency division and microwave generation by using a tunable electrical oscillator to create dual combs through phase modulation of two optical signals that have a stable difference frequency. Phase-locked control of the electrical oscillator by means of optical frequency division produces stable microwaves. Our approach transposes the oscillator and frequency reference of a conventional microwave frequency synthesizer. In this way, the oscillator experiences large phase noise reduction relative to the frequency reference. The electro-optical approach additionally relaxes the need for highly linear photodetection of the comb mode spacing. As well as simplicity, the technique is also tunable and scalable to higher division ratios.

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