• Journal Article

Free Space Optical Frequency Comparison Over Rapidly Moving Links

S. McSorley; B. Dix-Matthews; A. Frost; A. McCann; S. Karpathakis; D. Gozzard; S. Walsh; S. W. Schediwy


The comparison of optical reference frequency signals over free-space optical links is limited by the relative motion between local and remote sites. Extreme Doppler shifts experienced in rapidly moving optical links, such as for ground-to-space, prevent the narrow-band detection required to compare or transfer optical frequencies at the highest levels of stability. We demonstrate a system capable of optical frequency comparison in the presence of extreme Doppler shifts, using an electro-optic phase modulator with an actuation bandwidth of 10 GHz, sufficient to enable ground-to-space frequency comparison. This system was demonstrated over a retro-reflected drone link, with a maximum line-of-sight velocity of 15 m/s and Doppler shift of 20 MHz. The best fractional frequency stability obtained was 2E-17 at an integration time of 2 s. These results suggest that optical frequency comparison between rapidly moving targets, as in ground-to-space applications, is possible with further system development.

Read full Publication