Mid-infrared optical frequency combs at 2.5 mu m based on crystalline microresonators
The mid-infrared spectral range (lambda similar to 2-20 mu m) is of particular importance as many molecules exhibit strong vibrational fingerprints in this region. Optical frequency combs-broadband optical sources consisting of equally spaced and mutually coherent sharp lines-are creating new opportunities for advanced spectroscopy. Here we demonstrate a novel approach to create mid-infrared optical frequency combs via four-wave mixing in a continuous-wave pumped ultra-high Q crystalline microresonator made of magnesium fluoride. Careful choice of the resonator material and design made it possible to generate a broadband, low-phase noise Kerr comb at lambda = 2.5 mu m spanning 200 nm (approximate to 10 THz) with a line spacing of 100 GHz. With its distinguishing features of compactness, efficient conversion, large mode spacing and high power per comb line, this novel frequency comb source holds promise for new approaches to molecular spectroscopy and is suitable to be extended further into the mid-infrared.