Aston targets spectroscopy revolution with optical frequency comb devices

Aston University in the UK is leading a European collaboration that will explore new optical frequency technology and its applications in areas such as telecommunications and the food industry.

Located at the university Aston Institute of Photonic Technologies (AIPT) The project, which has received £1.6 million in EPSRC funding, aims to revolutionize spectroscopy through the development of a new family of light sources based on Optical Frequency Comb (OFC) technology to stimulate: laser sources that act as ultra-precise optical rulers for measuring precise frequencies of light.

optical frequency comb:
Image: leungchopan from

The Aston team, led by AIPT director Professor Sergei Turitsyn, will both develop new advanced optical frequency combing technologies and investigate the feasibility of the developed methods in various fields of great practical importance.

One area of ​​interest is the food supply chain and agricultural technology, where the technology can be used to prevent contamination by detecting toxic or harmful substances. Other applications include high-speed optical communications, outdoor greenhouse gas concentration monitoring, gas concentrations in industrial environments, optical sensing and many other applications in many industrial sectors.


The project is being carried out in collaboration with the Universities of Nice, Sophia Antipolis and Lille in France, and includes industrial partners including BAE Systems, Xtere, Thales, OFS, Highways England, Eblana Photonics, Pilot Photonics and Branscan.

Prof Turitsyn said: “We are pleased to receive this EPSRC award that will enable us to work with the two French academic centers to advance frequency combing technology by exploiting new non-linear scientific concepts and immediately applying the developed technology to very important practical problems. This is also an example of the post-Brexit collaboration that shows that science unites people.”

The project is one of 12 international collaborations to receive a total of £17 million in investment from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), with partners who make contributions in cash and in kind. Other initiatives include a partnership between the University of Exeter and NASA to develop new materials for climate monitoring and a collaboration between leading UK and US universities to develop advanced visible light communication technology.

Abhishek Maheswari
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