PRESS RELEASE: NPL and Menlo Systems announce licensing agreement for cutting-edge cubic cavity

NPL and Menlo Systems announce licensing agreement for cutting-edge cubic cavity

Martinsried, May 2019 – A new cubic cavity, designed and patented by the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) is set to change the future of ultra-stable lasers in vibration sensitive environments. The symmetric 5 cm cavity is comprised of two very high reflectivity mirrors optically contacted to an ultra-low-expansion glass cubic spacer.

Its design and mounting arrangement make it insensitive to vibration and acceleration outside of “quiet” laboratory conditions – rendering it suitable for high accuracy optical frequency measurement instrumentation in field, mobile and industrial environments.

It can reduce the spectral linewidth of commercial laser systems (from several MHz to below 1 Hz), creating an ultra-stable laser, which can be used either as a stand-alone laser with ultra-high frequency resolution or as a critical sub-component of a portable optical atomic clock.

Menlo Systems – expert in innovative optical technologies and home to the first frequency comb – is now a licensee of this cavity design, allowing them to create a more compact optical reference in their new ORS-Cubic Ultrastable Laser. The ORS series is used in applications such as ultra-low-noise microwave synthesis, ultra-stable frequency dissemination via optical fibre and optical clocks.

The introduction of NPL’s new cavity has allowed Menlo to improve their Ultrastable Lasers product line, allowing for a rigidly mounted resonator system, offering state-of-the-art performance.

Patrick Gill, Senior NPL Fellow and co-Director of the NPL Quantum Metrology Institute, said: “This is a great opportunity to collaborate with a leading high technology company in the field of high accuracy femtosecond optical frequency combs. Menlo Systems has provided cutting-edge comb technology to science and technology since 2001, and we are proud that novel technology from NPL is now embedded in the high-quality products and services they offer to their clients.

We are pleased to see UK optical cavity expertise contributing to future high-resolution laser and spectroscopy applications in the photonics and quantum technology industries going forward. This NPL expertise in very high finesse optical reference cavities has been developed over a period of around three decades, and exemplifies the role optical technology is increasingly playing in high resolution frequency and timing applications.”

Dr. Ronald Holzwarth, Managing Director of Menlo Systems, said:

“We are excited about the opportunity to collaborate with the National Physical Laboratory and to be able to supply our customers with more compact Optical Reference Systems based on the cubic cavity.

Our ORS Ultrastable Laser System series, available from 500-1600 nm, helps our customers save valuable R&D time and stay focused on their experiments.”

Combined with Menlo Systems’ FC1500-250-ULN Ultra Low Noise Optical Frequency Comb the purity of the ultra-stable laser is transferred to other parts of the optical spectrum. The cubic cavity design is already being applied in projects to develop portable atomic clock systems for defence, aerospace and industrial applications. It is set to be hugely beneficial to academic research groups, research institutes, laser companies making high stability lasers and companies making medium stability compact optical clocks.

In the future, this world-leading anti-vibration technology could provide improved synchronisation and timing facilities.

Menlo ORS Cubic NPL with glascube 3w