Laser-Based Measurements for Time and Frequency Domain Applications: A Handbook, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Laser-Based Measurements for Time and Frequency Domain Applications

A Handbook, 1st Edition

By Pasquale Maddaloni, Marco Bellini, Paolo De Natale

CRC Press

764 pages | 374 B/W Illus.

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Foreword by Nobel laureate Professor Theodor W. Hänsch of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

Based on the authors’ experimental work over the last 25 years, Laser-Based Measurements for Time and Frequency Domain Applications: A Handbook presents basic concepts, state-of-the-art applications, and future trends in optical, atomic, and molecular physics. It provides all the background information on the main kinds of laser sources and techniques, offers a detailed account of the most recent results obtained for time- and frequency-domain applications of lasers, and develops the theoretical framework necessary for understanding the experimental applications.

After a historical introduction, the book describes the basic concepts and mathematical tools required for studying the physics of oscillators. It then discusses microwave and optical resonators, crucial aspects of operation and fundamental properties of lasers, and precision spectroscopy and absolute frequency metrology. It also focuses on microwave and optical frequency standards and explores current and potential research directions.

Accessible to scientists, postdoc researchers, and advanced undergraduate students, this self-contained book gives a wide-ranging, balanced overview of the areas—including frequency standards and clocks, ultra-high-precision spectroscopy, quantum information, and environmental metrology—revolutionized by the recent advent of optical frequency comb synthesizers (OFCSs) based on femtosecond mode-locked lasers. The book is also a useful guide to cutting-edge research for manufacturers of advanced laser systems and optical devices.


"… [in] this handbook … the story and the complexity of the variety of methods for improving optical frequency metrology unfold, in particular, the successive improvements of the performance of devices based upon lasers. … a pleasure to read."

Contemporary Physics, 2014

"This is a beautiful and monumental work … easy to read thanks to its clear and concise style. … a must-read for anybody working in laser research and industry, and will be particularly helpful for Ph.D. students."

—Mircea Dragoman, Optics & Photonics News, January 2014

"The authors have made a considerable effort to make this book useful and interesting to different kinds of readers: they provide a detailed treatment of the basic concepts of time and frequency measurements, carefully describe different kinds of lasers and some of the most advanced laser-based measurement techniques, and finally present the latest developments in the field, with a hint to the possible future trends in applications and fundamental science.

Being among the many important actors in this long story, the authors of this book are privileged witnesses of the evolution of time and frequency measurements, and can provide an informed and wide vision of this developing field from many different viewpoints."

—From the Foreword by Nobel Laureate Professor Theodor W. Hänsch, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

Table of Contents

Shedding Light on the Art of Timekeeping

The great show of time and light, the curtain rises!

Brief history of timekeeping. Time-frequency equivalence

The parallel story of the speed of light

In the end, time and light met up again. Optical atomic clocks and outline of the book

Characterization and Control of Harmonic Oscillators

The ideal harmonic oscillator

Self-sustained oscillators

The noisy oscillator

Phase noise

Phase noise modeling

Noise reduction in oscillators

Phase noise measurements

Amplitude noise measurements

Passive Resonators

Microwave cavities

Basic properties of bulk optical cavities

Cavity design considerations

Ultrastable cavities

Fiber cavities

Whispering gallery mode resonators

Continuous-Wave Coherent Radiation Sources

Principles of masers

Compendium of laser theory

Frequency pulling

Achieving single-mode oscillation

The laser output

Laser frequency fluctuations and stabilization techniques

Intensity fluctuations

Some specific laser systems

High-Resolution Spectroscopic Frequency Measurements

Interferometric wavelength measurements

Spectroscopic frequency measurements

Frequency modulation spectroscopy

Magnetic rotation spectroscopy

Cavity-enhanced spectroscopy

Doppler-free saturation spectroscopy

Doppler-free polarization spectroscopy

Doppler-free two-photon spectroscopy

Second-order Doppler-free spectroscopy

Sub-Doppler spectroscopy in atomic/molecular beams

Ramsey fringes

Laser frequency standards using thermal quantum absorbers

Fourier transform spectroscopy

Raman spectroscopy

Time and Frequency Measurements with Pulsed Laser Systems


Theory of mode-locking

Mode-locking mechanisms and dispersion compensation schemes

Optical frequency comb synthesis from mode-locked lasers

Extension of OFCSs into novel spectral regions

Frequency Standards

General features of frequency standards and clocks

Quartz oscillators

Cryogenic sapphire oscillators

Photonic microwave oscillators based on WGM resonators

Generation of ultrastable microwaves via optical frequency division

Trapping and cooling of neutral atoms

Cold stable molecules

Trapping and cooling of ions

Microwave atomic standards

Time transfer and frequency dissemination

Future Trends in Fundamental Physics and Applications

Optical atomic clocks

The hydrogen atom as an inexhaustible wellspring of advances in precision spectroscopy

Spectroscopy of cold, trapped metastable helium

Measurements of fundamental constants

Constancy of fundamental constants

Tests of fundamental physics laws

Perspectives for precision spectroscopy of cold molecules

Tests of general relativity: from ground-based experiments to space missions

Quantum-enhanced time and frequency measurements

Environmental metrology


About the Authors

Pasquale Maddaloni is a research scientist at the National Institute for Optics (INO) of the National Research Council (CNR) in Naples. His research focuses on nonlinear optics and precision spectroscopy assisted by optical frequency comb synthesizers as well as cold stable molecules. He earned a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Padua.

Marco Bellini is a senior researcher at the National Institute for Optics (INO) of the National Research Council (CNR) in Florence. His research deals with ultrashort and ultraintense laser pulses to produce highly nonlinear interactions with matter, the production and applications of high-order laser harmonics, and the development of new tools in quantum optics. He earned a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Florence.

Paolo De Natale is a staff scientist and director of the National Institute for Optics (INO) of the National Research Council (CNR) in Florence. He is a SPIE fellow, is the author of 200 papers, and holds five patents. His research activities focus on atomic, molecular, and optical physics, including novel optoelectronic devices, sub-Doppler molecular spectroscopy, optical frequency comb synthesizers, quantum cascade lasers, fiber-based optical sensors, and molecular gas sensing.

About the Series

Series in Optics and Optoelectronics

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SCIENCE / Physics