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Astro-comb: revolutionizing precision spectroscopy in astrophysics

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 May 2008

Claire E. Cramer
Affiliation:
Dept. of Physics, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA email: ccramer@fas.harvard.edu Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, MA 02138USA
Chih-Hao Li
Affiliation:
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, MA 02138USA
Andrew J. Benedick
Affiliation:
Dept. of Electrical Engineering, Computer Science and Research Lab for Electronics, MIT, Cambridge, MA 02138USA
Alexander G. Glenday
Affiliation:
Dept. of Physics, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA email: ccramer@fas.harvard.edu Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, MA 02138USA
Franz X. Kärtner
Affiliation:
Dept. of Electrical Engineering, Computer Science and Research Lab for Electronics, MIT, Cambridge, MA 02138USA
David F. Phillips
Affiliation:
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, MA 02138USA
Dimitar Sasselov
Affiliation:
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, MA 02138USA Dept. of Astronomy, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
Andrew Szentgyorgyi
Affiliation:
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, MA 02138USA
Ronald L. Walsworth
Affiliation:
Dept. of Physics, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA email: ccramer@fas.harvard.edu Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, MA 02138USA
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Abstract

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Searches for extrasolar planets using the periodic Doppler shift of stellar spectral lines have recently achieved a precision better than 60cm/s. To find a 1-Earth mass planet in an Earth-like orbit, a precision of 5cm/s is necessary. The combination of a laser frequency comb with a Fabry-Perot filtering cavity has been suggested as a promising approach to achieve such Doppler shift resolution via improved spectrograph wavelength calibration. Here we report the fabrication of such a filtered laser comb with up to 40 GHz (~1 Angstrom) line spacing, generated from a 1 GHz repetition-rate source, without compromising long-term stability, reproducibility or spectral resolution. This wide-line-spacing comb (astro-comb) is well matched to the resolving power of high-resolution astrophysical spectrographs. The astrocomb should allow a precision as high as 1cm/s in astronomical readial velocity measurements.

Type
Contributed Papers
Copyright
Copyright © International Astronomical Union 2009

References

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