MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
"This award is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5)." The objective of this proposal is to explore the fundamental limits for timing jitter in femtosecond (fs) lasers and develop a new technology for optical clock and microwave generation using compact diode-pumped Cr:Colquiriite lasers producing 10-100 fs pulses with ultralow timing jitter approaching the quantum limit. The proposed research builds upon our recent achievements in diode-pumped Cr:Colquiriite lasers and attosecond timing jitter detection and control. The proposed program consists of the following aims: 1. Modelling timing jitter in mode-locked lasers operating in the soliton pulse shaping regime. 2. Attosecond timing jitter characterization using balanced nonlinear optical cross correlation. 3. Extraction of low noise microwave signals and its characterization. 4. Development of Cr:Colquiriite lasers with repetition rates ranging from 100 MHz to 20 GHz. Intellectual Merit: The proposed research will make important contributions to the fundamental understanding of fs lasers and develop new methods to achieve ultrahigh stability microwave generation. These studies represent a critical step toward developing the next generation of ultrahigh speed signal processing techniques integrating optics and electronics. Broader Impact: Low-cost, high-power, compact and portable fs lasers are critical for many scientific and technological applications. The ultralow timing jitter which can be achieve using optical pulse trains from modelocked lasers makes them very attractive for applications such as fs precision timing distribution and synchronization of large scale accelerator facilities, low phase noise microwave generation, arbitrary waveform generation, high-speed, high-resolution optical sampling and analog-to-digital conversion.