Researchers from the Chair of Laser Technology and Spectroscopy of the Helmut Schmidt Universität Hamburg and the attoworld-team have developed the world's most powerful dual-comb spectrometer, paving the way for many applications in atmospheric research and biomedical diagnostics, including early cancer detection.

The core part of the system is a special type of laser-gain medium, a thin-disk, and a unique configuration of the mirrors surrounding this medium, a laser resonator (shown in the illustration). "The key of our dual comb laser source lies in its simplicity", team leader Oleg Pronin explains. "Instead of using two separate lasers, actively stabilizing and locking them to each other, our two laser outputs originate from the same laser resonator, leading to an excellent intrinsic mutual stability." The dual-output laser yields one order of magnitude higher power than ever before. This paves the way for many applications in atmospheric science and biomedical diagnostics, such as early cancer detection. Fundamental research applications such as precise measurements of the atomic lines in uncovered spectral ranges and nuclear clocks, the most precise clocks in our universe, come into reach thanks to this novel spectrometer.

Picture description: Two trains of laser pulses with slightly different spacing originate from a thin-disk laser gain medium in the center of the picture. The work was recently published in Nature Communications. Picture: Eric Schambroom, Patricia Bondia