, Volume 104, Issue 4, pp 763-768

Widely tunable THz synthesizer

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The generation of cw-THz radiation by photomixing is particularly suited to the high resolution spectroscopy of gases; nevertheless, until recently, it has suffered from a lack of frequency metrology. Frequency combs are a powerful tool that can transfer microwave frequency standards to optical frequencies and a single comb has permitted accurate (10−8) THz frequency synthesis with a limited tuning range. A THz synthesizer composed of three extended cavity laser diodes phase locked to a frequency comb has been constructed and its utility for high resolution gas phase spectroscopy demonstrated. The third laser diode allows a larger tuning range of up to 300 MHz to be achieved without the need for large frequency excursions, while the frequency comb provides a versatile link to be established from any traceable microwave frequency standard. The use of a single frequency comb as a reference for all of the cw-lasers eliminates the dependency of synthesized frequency on the carrier envelope offset frequency. This greatly simplifies the frequency comb stabilization requirements and leads to a reduced instrument complexity.