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Home | Seminars and Symposia | Past seminars/symposia: Monday, December 10, 2007

DTC Seminar Series

Femtosecond Lasers: From Frequency Metrology To Photonic Analog-To-Digital Conversion


Franz. X. Kärtner
Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Research Laboratory of Electronics
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Monday, December 10, 2007
4:00 pm

402 Walter Library

Femtosecond lasers have lead to a revolution in frequency metrology over the last decade made possible by the low timing jitter of femtosecond laser pulses and by the invention of the femtosecond laser frequency comb techniques. The progress made in developing octave spanning Ti:sapphire lasers for the generation of carrier-envelope phase stabilized sub-two-cycle optical pulse trains, femtosecond laser frequency combs and optical clocks built in our laboratory will be discussed. Currently, progress in developing high speed Analog-to-Digital Converters (ADC) occurs rather slowly at a resolution increase of only 1.8 bits per decade. Photonic ADCs promise to exploit the low timing jitter of femtosecond laser pulses to overcome electronic jitter and bandwidth limitations. Low jitter, high repetition rate fiber laser sources, which may enable significantly advanced optical ADCs will presented. These laser are used in the MIT-DARPA Electronic-Photonic Integrated Circuit Program that pursues the development of a photonic ADC based on silicon-photonic devices. Results so far achieved in this program will be discussed.


Franz X. Kärenter received his Diploma and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Technische Universität München, Germany in 1986 and 1989, respectively. From 1991-93 he was a Feodor-Lynen Fellow of the Alexander of the Humboldt Foundation at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). From 1993-1997 he was a research scientist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) where he received his Habilitation degree in Experimental Physics in 1997. After a visiting professorship at MIT in 1998 he joined the Electrical Engineering Department at Universität Karlsruhe (TH), Germany and headed the High Frequency and Quantum Electronics Laboratory. In 2001, he returned to MIT, where he is currently a Full Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. His research interests include classical and quantum noise in electronic and optical devices; femtosecond lasers and their applications in frequency metrology, femtosecond precision timing distribution and the study of ultrafast phenomena; high-index contrast micro-photonic devices and its use in high speed signal processing and optical communications.