Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who has the lowest noise of them all

Date:
July 21, 2013
Source:
University of Vienna
Summary:
Scientists have demonstrated a novel "crystalline coating" technique for producing low-loss mirrors. This technology will further accelerate progress in the development of narrow-line width lasers.

This is an artist's rendering of an exploded view of the crystalline coating cavity. One of the bonded mirror discs, the key element of the low noise reflectors, can be seen here separated from the glass substrate, along with a magnified view of a unit cell of the AlGaAs crystal structure.
Credit: Brad Baxley, JILA Scientific Reports Office (SRO)

Although it may not be immediately obvious, the mechanical properties of optical components have a significant impact on the performance of lasers employed in precision sensing applications. Currently, the mechanical damping of such components, and the inherent mechanical fluctuations they generate, present a roadblock to further advancement of ever more precise measurements of time and space.

Related Articles


For the past decade, researchers in the precision measurement community have been searching for a solution that allows for the development of high-reflectivity mirrors with simultaneously high mechanical quality. Now an international collaboration of scientists from Vienna, Austria and Boulder, Colorado, USA has demonstrated a novel technology for producing mirrors with a tenfold reduction in mechanical loss. The work, reported in Nature Photonics, represents an entirely new approach for generating high-quality optical coatings, key components of state-of-the art laser systems for precision measurement.

Combining aspects of semiconductor mirrors borrowed from surface-emitting diode lasers, an epitaxial layer transfer technique gleaned from advance nanofabrication processes, and an in-depth knowledge of mechanical losses gained from the field of cavity optomechanics, the researchers in Vienna realized a novel "crystalline coating" technology. The unprecedented improvement in mechanical quality, verified by the world-renowned experts in precision measurement in Boulder, arises from the intrinsic order of the high-quality semiconductor materials used to fabricate the mirrors. The development of such materials was historically driven by advances in microelectronics and photonics, enabling the technologies we interact with every day: high-speed integrated circuits, diode lasers for telecommunications, etc. Previously, the major impediment to utilizing such materials in general optics applications was two-fold: On the one hand, optical surfaces are in many cases curved, which presents a problem for direct crystal growth techniques, and on the other hand,typical optical substrates are made of glass with an amorphous structure that lacks the order required for seeded crystal growth. Circumventing these limitations, the researchers came up with a microfabrication process to separate and then bond high-quality single-crystal films onto curved glass substrates.

The mirror technology described in the manuscript promises to accelerate progress in the development of narrow linewidth laser sources for use in precision measurement systems, spanning time keeping with optical atomic clocks, as well as fundamental physics research involving precision tests of relativity, cavity quantum electrodynamics, and quantum optomechanics. Moreover, leveraging advanced semiconductor production techniques, there is a clear path to implementing large area crystalline coatings in astronomical endeavors, such as gravitational wave detectors. According to Professor Ye, "The development of highly phase coherent optical sources is a key technology that impacts a vast range of scientific explorations. In our own lab, we are able to demonstrate the most stable optical atomic clock thanks to these narrow linewidth lasers, and the progress is marching on!"

"The collaboration with Jun's group was fantastic," states Garrett Cole, who, along with Wei Zhang, is the lead author on the work. "They not only had the courage to take on an unproven technology, but also the ability to tackle a tremendously difficult task: quickly achieving thermally limited noise performance with their characterization system and verifying the high mechanical quality of our mirrors." Following this initial demonstration, the scientists are already hard at work to further improve the technology. Going forward, they plan to combine their novel coatings with the previously demonstrated single-crystal silicon cavity developed by researchers at JILA and PTB in Braunschweig, Germany. In combination, an all crystalline cavity (comprising crystalline coatings, substrates, and spacer) would enable world-record stability and hence a new milestone in laser technology.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Vienna. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Garrett D. Cole, Wei Zhang, Michael J. Martin, Jun Ye, Markus Aspelmeyer. Tenfold reduction of Brownian noise in high-reflectivity optical coatings. Nature Photonics, 2013; DOI: 10.1038/nphoton.2013.174

Cite This Page:

University of Vienna. "Mirror, mirror on the wall, who has the lowest noise of them all." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 July 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130721161723.htm>.
University of Vienna. (2013, July 21). Mirror, mirror on the wall, who has the lowest noise of them all. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130721161723.htm
University of Vienna. "Mirror, mirror on the wall, who has the lowest noise of them all." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130721161723.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Building Google Into Cars

Building Google Into Cars

Reuters - Business Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) Google's next Android version could become the standard that'll power your vehicle's entertainment and navigation features, Reuters has learned. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
AP Review: Nikon D750 and GoPro Hero 4

AP Review: Nikon D750 and GoPro Hero 4

AP (Dec. 19, 2014) What to buy an experienced photographer or video shooter? There is some strong gear on the market from Nikon and GoPro. The AP's Ron Harris takes a closer look. (Dec. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins