Story: Synchronizing Lasers and Microwave Sources
It was a difficult task the group of Franz Kärtner at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) was facing in the early 2000: they were working on the MIT X-ray laser project, the possibility of constructing a national user facility based on an intense free-electron laser. But the existing methods for synchronizing large accelerators could not provide the timing accuracy necessary for the new laser facilities comprising an X-ray Free-Electron Laser. So, they had to come up with a new idea … Our first article on the Balanced Optical Microwave Phase Detector explains the science behind this system and how Prof. Kärtner and his colleagues came up with the idea. After reading, you will know more about how the BOMPD works and why you can expect better results compared with standard direct photodetection.