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Laser Physics Laboratory is affiliated both to CNRS and to University Paris 13. We study the interactions between light and matter.

Our experiments range from the most fundamental aspects of basic science to applied research: quantum physics, atomic and molecular physics, optical devices, biomedical imaging...

The lab is structured into eight experimental research teams, four shops and an administrative department. It is composed of about seventy-five people (10 CNRS full-time researchers, 30 university teaching staff members, a technical staff of 15 people, about 20 PhD students and post-docs), plus several short-term trainees and foreign visitors.

Olivier Gorceix,
Director of laboratory

Quantum cascade laser frequency stabilization at the sub-Hz level

Figure : Experimental set-upHigh-precision measurements with molecules may refine our knowledge of various fields of physics, from atmospheric and interstellar physics to the standard model or physics beyond it. Most of them can be cast as absorption frequency measurements, creating the need for narrow-linewidth lasers of well-controlled frequency.  The mid-infrared ‘molecular fingerprint’ region (wavelength from 3 to 25 µm) is of particular interest, as it hosts many intense spectral signatures of molecular vibrations. However, quantum cascade lasers typically used in this spectral window show substantial free-running frequency fluctuations. Now, researchers of  LNE-SYRTE (Observatoire de Paris, CNRS, UPMC Université Paris 6) and of the Metrology, Molecules et Fundamental Tests group of LPL (Université Paris 13 et CNRS) have demonstrated that the excellent stability and accuracy of an ultra-stable near-infrared laser, the signal of which is transferred from SYRTE to LPL through a fibre link, can be copied to a quantum cascade laser emitting around 10 µm using an optical frequency comb. The obtained relative stability and accuracy of 2 x 10−15 and 10−14 exceed those demonstrated to date with quantum cascade lasers by almost two orders of magnitude.

This work paves the way for precision spectroscopic measurements with molecules at the ultimate levels so far only accessible to experiments on atoms, in the visible or near-infrared range. The set-up already allowed molecular absorption frequencies to be measured with state-of-the-art uncertainties, confirming its potential for ultra high precision spectroscopy.

This work is published in Nature Photonics (Quantum cascade laser frequency stabilization at the sub-Hz level, B Argence, B Chanteau, O Lopez, D Nicolodi, M Abgrall, C Chardonnet, C Daussy, B Darquié, Y Le Coq and A Amy-Klein, Nature Photonics 9, 456–460, 2015).

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