Project Definition

The project aims for ultra-pure microwave generation in the 10 GHz domain via frequency division from an ultra-stable optical laser. Single-sideband noise below -170 dBc at 10 kHz from the carrier is the goal. In an intense joint research effort between Menlo Systems, the CNRS (SYRTE, Y. LeCoq), and EPFL (T. Kippenberg) the limits of a frequency-comb based approach are studied. So far, -165 dBc have been demonstrated in a cross correlation based on three combs, three stable lasers and three fountain clocks.

After the 5 year project, two transportable turnkey systems based on fs fiber laser combs and Kerr combs respectively will be ready for commercialization through Menlo Systems. The project has already lead to innovative low-noise fiber comb design based on the Figure 9® technology and decoupled electro-optical actuators for both, repetition rate and offset frequency. Menlo has already acquired the exclusive patent rights on two relevant patents US7982944B2 (micro comb generation) and US7026594 (frequency division optical to RF via comb) that are essential for this work.

The project follows a call issued by DARPA under the PULSE program.


  • Development of a rack mounted device with conventional fiber frequency comb based microwave generation, showing -100 dBc/Hz at 1 Hz and -170 dBc/Hz at 10 kHz and
  • Development of pure microwave source based on microresonator Kerr combs, showing -80 dBc/Hz at 1 Hz and -170 dBc/Hz at 10 kHz offset frequency in an integrated platform.