APPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY:
- Particle accelerators
- Phased array radar
- Radio telescopes
- High data rate fiber telecommunications
- Precise synchronization to 10-20 fs (two to four wavelengths of relevant light)
- Compatible with existing and new light sources/accelerators
- Consistently sensitive/robust
Scientists at Berkeley Lab have invented a device for precisely synchronizing, within 10-20 fs, events in particle accelerator components separated by up to several kilometers. The device has been applied in Stanford’s Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) and the FERMI@Elletra free-electron laser (FEL) facility in Trieste, Italy.
The Berkeley Lab technology uses a laser to transmit light signals, modulated by a microwave master clock, over a standard telecommunications fiber optic cable, to a receiver that controls the components to be synchronized. When these light signals are reflected back from the receiver to the transmitter, they are compared to a reference signal in an interferometer. The interferometer detects small changes in the length of the optical fiber, providing information to the receiver, which adjusts the timing of the received microwave signal. There are no mechanical components in this system; all corrections are made via digital signal processing in the receiver.As a result, the various components are kept in sync to a few wavelengths of light.
The invention provides the necessary precision for operating existing and future accelerators and for conducting experiments that use sub-100-fs light pulses. The technology could also have broader applications in phased array radar, radiotelescopes, and other technologies that depend on precise synchronization over distances. Moreover, it can be assembled with standard electronic and telecom parts, without the need for expensive custom components.
Until now, synchronization systems that are crucial to the operation of faster, brighter accelerators have suffered from limited precision and mechanical delay ranges, as well as slow response to controlled delay. The Berkeley Lab invention overcomes these limitations and is, therefore, crucial in the development of femtosecond and attosecond light sources used to study the motion of atoms and molecules during physical, chemical, and biological reactions.
DEVELOPMENT STAGE: Functioning prototypes.
STATUS: Patent pending. Available for licensing or collaborative research.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
R. Wilcox, Byrd, J.M., Doolittle, L., Huang, G., Staples, W. “Stable transmission of radio frequency signals on fiber links using interferometric delay sensing,” Optics Letters. 34;20:3050-3052 (2009).
SEE THESE OTHER BERKELEY LAB TECHNOLOGIES IN THIS FIELD:
REFERENCE NUMBER: IB-2702