Free Newsletters - Space News - Defense Alert - Environment Report - Energy Monitor
. Space Industry and Business News .




TECH SPACE
Future Electronics May Depend on Lasers, Not Quartz
by Jessica Stoller-Conrad
Pasadena CA (SPX) Jul 22, 2014


Vahala's new laser frequency reference (left) is a small 6 mm disk; the quartz "tuning fork" (middle) is the frequency reference commonly used today in wristwatches to set the second. The dime (right) is for scale. Image courtesy Jiang Li and Caltech.

Nearly all electronics require devices called oscillators that create precise frequencies-frequencies used to keep time in wristwatches or to transmit reliable signals to radios. For nearly 100 years, these oscillators have relied upon quartz crystals to provide a frequency reference, much like a tuning fork is used as a reference to tune a piano.

However, future high-end navigation systems, radar systems, and even possibly tomorrow's consumer electronics will require references beyond the performance of quartz.

Now, researchers in the laboratory of Kerry Vahala, the Ted and Ginger Jenkins Professor of Information Science and Technology and Applied Physics at Caltech, have developed a method to stabilize microwave signals in the range of gigahertz, or billions of cycles per second-using a pair of laser beams as the reference, in lieu of a crystal.

Quartz crystals "tune" oscillators by vibrating at relatively low frequencies-those that fall at or below the range of megahertz, or millions of cycles per second, like radio waves. However, quartz crystals are so good at tuning these low frequencies that years ago, researchers were able to apply a technique called electrical frequency division that could convert higher-frequency microwave signals into lower-frequency signals, and then stabilize these with quartz.

The new technique, which Vahala and his colleagues have dubbed electro-optical frequency division, builds off of the method of optical frequency division, developed at the National Institute of Standards and Technology more than a decade ago.

"Our new method reverses the architecture used in standard crystal-stabilized microwave oscillators-the 'quartz' reference is replaced by optical signals much higher in frequency than the microwave signal to be stabilized," Vahala says.

Jiang Li-a Kavli Nanoscience Institute postdoctoral scholar at Caltech and one of two lead authors on the paper, along with graduate student Xu Yi-likens the method to a gear chain on a bicycle that translates pedaling motion from a small, fast-moving gear into the motion of a much larger wheel.

"Electrical frequency dividers used widely in electronics can work at frequencies no higher than 50 to 100 GHz. Our new architecture is a hybrid electro-optical 'gear chain' that stabilizes a common microwave electrical oscillator with optical references at much higher frequencies in the range of terahertz or trillions of cycles per second," Li says.

The optical reference used by the researchers is a laser that, to the naked eye, looks like a tiny disk. At only 6 mm in diameter, the device is very small, making it particularly useful in compact photonics devices-electronic-like devices powered by photons instead of electrons, says Scott Diddams, physicist and project leader at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and a coauthor on the study.

"There are always tradeoffs between the highest performance, the smallest size, and the best ease of integration. But even in this first demonstration, these optical oscillators have many advantages; they are on par with, and in some cases even better than, what is available with widespread electronic technology," Vahala says.

.


Related Links
Caltech
Space Technology News - Applications and Research






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





TECH SPACE
New UV laser capabilities being developed for Army
San Diego (UPI) Jul 17, 2013
Next-generation ultraviolet laser capabilities are to be developed for military use by Daylight Defense LLC under a U.S. Army contract. The value of the award was not disclosed, but Daylight Defense said it was granted under the U.S. Army Small Business Innovation Research program. "We are grateful that the U.S. government has entrusted Daylight to develop a next-generation capab ... read more


TECH SPACE
Researchers crush diamond with biggest laser in world

New UV laser capabilities being developed for Army

Virtual finger enables scientists to navigate and analyze complex 3D images

USAF orders ground approach radar for Saudi Arabia

TECH SPACE
Third MUOS satellite heads for final checkout

Saab reports U.S. Army order for radio systems

Thales enhancing communications of EU peacekeepers

Exelis enhancing communications for NATO country

TECH SPACE
First Launch of Proton After Crash Scheduled for September 28

SpaceX Falcon 9 v1.1 Flights Deemed Successful

ISS 'space truck' launch postponed: Arianespace

45th Space Wing launches 6 second-generation ORBCOMM satellites

TECH SPACE
Russian GLONASS to Boost Yield Capacity by 50 percent

US Refusal to Host GLONASS Base a Form of Competition with Russia

New device developed to defeat GPS jamming

EU selects CGI to support Galileo Commercial Service Initiative

TECH SPACE
Typhoon fighter program a boon for British companies

Evidence mounts of MH17 missile strike, but proof elusive

NASA Turns Over New Air Traffic Management Tool To FAA

In air tragedy, lightning strikes twice for Malaysia

TECH SPACE
Moore's Law Gets Boost With Fundamental Chemistry Finding

Technique simplifies the creation of high-tech crystals

Rice's silicon oxide memories catch manufacturers' eye

The World's First Photonic Router

TECH SPACE
OCO-2 Data to Lead Scientists Forward into the Past

ADS and Esri Take Satellite Imagery Services to a Premium Level

NASA's Van Allen Probes Show How to Accelerate Electrons

Ten-Year Endeavor: NASA's Aura Tracks Pollutants

TECH SPACE
Microplastics worse for crabs and other marine life than previously thought

New study links dredging to diseased corals

Italy cruise ship toxins threaten wildlife: activists

Straits of Mackinac 'worst possible place' for a Great Lakes oil spill




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.