The main elements needed for the realization of a compact femtosecond methane optical clock are developed and studied. A femtosecond laser system on an Er3+ fiber (λ = 1.55 μm) contains an oscillator, an amplifier, and a fiber with a relatively high nonlinearity in which the supercontinuum radiation is generated in the range 1–2 μm. In the supercontinuum spectrum, the fragments separated by an interval that is close to the methane-optical reference frequency (λ = 3.39 μm) exhibit an increase in intensity. The supercontinuum radiation is converted into the difference frequency in a nonlinear crystal to the range of the methane-reference frequency (λ = 3.3–3.5 μm), so that the frequency components of the transformed spectrum have sufficient intensities for the subsequent frequency-phase stabilization with respect to the methane reference. A system that stabilizes the pulse repetition rate of the femtosecond Er3+ laser is also employed. Thus, the repetition rate of the ultrashort pulses of the femtosecond fiber laser is locked to the methane reference. The pulse repetition rate is compared with the standard second. Thus, the scheme of an optical clock is realized.
06.30.Ft 42.55.Wd 42.65.Ky
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