Toward a Broadband Astro-comb: Effects of Nonlinear Spectral Broadening in Optical Fibers
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CitationChang, Guoqing, Chih-Hao Li, David F. Phillips, Ronald L. Walsworth, and Franz X. Kärtner. 2010. Toward a Broadband Astro-comb: Effects of Nonlinear Spectral Broadening in Optical Fibers. Optics Express 18(12): 12736-12747.
AbstractWe propose and analyze a new approach to generate a broadband astrocomb by spectral broadening of a narrowband astro-comb inside a highly nonlinear optical fiber. Numerical modeling shows that cascaded four-wave-mixing dramatically degrades the input comb’s side-mode suppression and causes side-mode amplitude asymmetry. These two detrimental effects can systematically shift the center-of-gravity of astro-comb spectral lines as measured by an astrophysical spectrograph with resolution \(\approx 100,000\); and thus lead to wavelength calibration inaccuracy and instability. Our simulations indicate that this performance penalty, as a result of nonlinear spectral broadening, can be compensated by using a filtering cavity configured for double-pass. As an explicit example, we present a design based on an Yb-fiber source comb (with 1GHz repetition rate) that is filtered by double-passing through a low finesse cavity (finesse = 208), and subsequent spectrally broadened in a 2-cm, SF6-glass photonic crystal fiber. Spanning more than 300 nm with 16 GHz line spacing, the resulting astrocomb is predicted to provide \(1 cm/s (\sim 10 kHz)\) radial velocity calibration accuracy for an astrophysical spectrograph. Such extreme performance will be necessary for the search for and characterization of Earth-like extra-solar planets, and in direct measurements of the change of the rate of cosmological expansion.
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