MINOSHIMA Intelligent Optical Synthesizer

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Research Director: Kaoru MINOSHIMA
Professor, Graduate School of Informatics and Engineering, The University of Electro-Communications
Research Term 2013-2018

 

Lasers are now used in a variety of applications that at the time of their invention just over 50 year ago were beyond imagination, and a number of significant changes to society have occurred as a result. Continuing advances in optical technologies, particularly in lasers, mean that the 21st century could become to be known as the "age of light," and one may even go so far as to say that today’s information‐oriented society could not exist without optical technology. With the spread of the Internet, the fast transfer of an overwhelming amount of information has become standard practice, which is possible largely because of the development of an optical fiber communication network that utilizes optical devices including semiconductor lasers, photodiodes, and optical fibers. However, as light is mainly used as an information medium, the full potential of optical waves has not yet been realized.

By exploiting the phase and frequency information, light can be used to its full extent to allow the direct transfer of information with an extremely wide dynamic range. In this way, light waves will not merely be used to transmit information but would become a truly intelligent fundamental entity. In other words, light waves would become the principle phenomenon that covers everything from measurement and transmission to the analysis of signals and information processing that could be controlled by the user. For industrial measurements or structural safety inspections, for example, light can be used for the in situ detection of defects and deformations, the high-speed transfer of relevant images, and processing or repair procedures based on the obtained results; the entire process can be implemented rapidly and intelligently. Thus, light may become a key quantity that delivers benefits on a daily basis to society and various industries related to medicine, the environment, energy, safety and security, materials, and manufacturing.

It is within this context that this research project is working toward developing an "optical comb," (an advanced light source whose spectrum has discrete peaks at regular intervals on the frequency axis in a precise comb shape) into a fundamental and revolutionary "intelligent optical synthesizer" by combining electronics and optical technologies. We aim to develop an intelligent light source for which all the light wave parameters including the period, spatial extent, frequency, phase, intensity, and polarization can be freely controlled and to use this light source to uncover and explore novel application fields.

One potential application of such an intelligent light source would be future astronomical observations in observational cosmology, which rely on precise long-term measurements of the red shift of distant astronomical objects to identify whether the expansion of the Universe is slowing or accelerating. With the high-precision and highly stable properties of an intelligent optical synthesizer, our goal is to realize light source technologies that can be used as a standard for many frequencies spread over intervals sufficiently separated for spectrometer analysis and that are also maintenance-free over many years. We also aim to produce an intelligent optical synthesizer that has a narrow THz bandwidth light source with a known absolute frequency and to establish a high-resolution, high-precision, wide-bandwidth THz spectroscopy method with this source to achieve high-precision THz gas spectroscopy.

Project Headquarter

Graduate School of Information and Engineering, The University of Electro-Communications,
1-5-1 Chofugaoka, Chofu, Tokyo 182-8585, Japan

Research Manager:Hiroyuki OHIRA
Administrative Staff:Kaoru UEKI

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