Stabilized Free-Space Optical Frequency Transfer

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Abstract

The transfer of high-precision optical frequency signals over free-space links, particularly between ground stations and satellites, will enable advances in fields ranging from coherent optical communications and satellite Doppler ranging to tests of General Relativity and fundamental physics. We present results for the actively stabilized coherent phase transfer of a 193-THz continuous-wave optical frequency signal over horizontal free-space links 150 and 600 m in length. Over the 600-m link, we achieve a fractional frequency stability of 8.9×10-18 at 1 s of integration time, improving to 1.3×10-18 at an integration time of 64 s, suitable for transmission of optical atomic clock signals. The achievable transfer distance is limited by deep fading of the transmitted signal due to atmospheric turbulence. We also estimate the expected additional degradation in stability performance for frequency transfer to Low Earth Orbit.

Original languageEnglish
Article number024046
JournalPhysical Review Applied
Volume10
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 29 Aug 2018

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