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  • Received: Sep. 15, 2020

    Accepted: Nov. 22, 2020

    Posted: Nov. 22, 2020

    Published Online: Jan. 14, 2021

    The Author Email: Yanyi Jiang (, Longsheng Ma (

    DOI: 10.1364/PRJ.409534

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    Yuan Yao, Bo Li, Guang Yang, Xiaotong Chen, Yaqin Hao, Hongfu Yu, Yanyi Jiang, Longsheng Ma. Optical frequency synthesizer referenced to an ytterbium optical clock[J]. Photonics Research, 2021, 9(2): 02000098

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Photonics Research, Vol. 9, Issue 2, 02000098 (2021)

Optical frequency synthesizer referenced to an ytterbium optical clock

Yuan Yao1,†, Bo Li1,†, Guang Yang1, Xiaotong Chen1, Yaqin Hao1, Hongfu Yu1, Yanyi Jiang1,2,3,*, and Longsheng Ma1,2,4,*

Author Affiliations

  • 1State Key Laboratory of Precision Spectroscopy, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200062, China
  • 2Collaborative Innovation Center of Extreme Optics, Shanxi University, Taiyuan 030006, China
  • 3e-mail:
  • 4e-mail:


Optical clocks with an unprecedented accuracy of 10-18 promise innovations in precision spectroscopy and measurement. To harness the full power of optical clocks, we need optical frequency synthesizers (OFSs) to accurately convert the stabilities and accuracies of optical clocks to other desired frequencies. This work demonstrates such an OFS referenced to an ytterbium optical clock. The OFS is based on an optical frequency comb phase-locked to a commercial rubidium microwave clock; in this way most combs can operate robustly. Despite comb frequency instability at 10-11, the synthesis noise and uncertainty reach 6×10-18 (1 s) and 5×10-21, respectively, facilitating frequency synthesis of the best optical clocks. In the OFS, the coherence of the OFS internal oscillator at 1064 nm is accurately transferred to a 578 nm laser for resolving the hertz-level-linewidth ytterbium clock transition (unaffected by megahertz-linewidth comb lines) and faithfully referencing the OFS to an ytterbium optical clock.

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