Skip to main content

Curtis Menyuk: Stability and Noise in Frequency Combs: Harnessing the Music of the Spheres

Frequency combs have revolutionized the measurement of time and frequency and impacted a wide range of applications spanning basic physics,astrophysics, medicine, and defense. The key theoretical issues in understanding and designing frequency combs are finding regions in the adjustable parameter space where combs operate stably, determining their noise performance, and optimizing them for high power, low noise, and/or large bandwidth. Here, we present a unique set of computational tools that we have developed that allow us to efficiently address these issues. These tools combine 400-year-old dynamical systems theory with modern computational methods, and they are 3–5 orders of magnitude faster than standard evolutionary methods and provide important physical insight. We have applied these tools to frequency combs from passively modelocked lasers with fast and with slow saturable absorbers and to frequency combs from microresonators. Our methods predict improved operating regimes for combs that are produced from both the passively modelocked lasers and the microresonators.

BIO: Curtis R. Menyuk was born March 26, 1954. He received the B.S. and M.S. degrees from MIT in 1976 and the Ph.D. from UCLA in 1981. He has worked as a research associate at the University of Maryland, College Park and at Science Applications International Corporation in McLean, VA. In 1986 he became an Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, and he was the founding member of this department. In 1993, he was promoted to Professor. He was on partial leave from UMBC from Fall, 1996 until Fall, 2002. From 1996 – 2001, he worked part-time for the Department of Defense, co-directing the Optical Networking program at the DoD Laboratory for Telecommunications Sciences in Adelphi, MD from 1999 –2001. In 2001 - 2002, he was Chief Scientist at PhotonEx Corporation. In 2008 – 2009, he was a JILA Visiting Fellow at the University of Colorado. For the last 30 years, his primary research area has been theoretical and computational studies of lasers, nonlinear optics, and fiber optic communications. He has authored or co-authored more than 280 archival journal publications as well as numerous other publications and presentations, and he is aco-inventor of 6 patents. He has also edited three books. The equations and algorithms that he and his research group at UMBC have developed to model optical fiber systems are used extensively in the telecommunications and photonics industry. He is a member of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics and of SPIE. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society, the Optical Society of America, and the IEEE. He is the 1996–1999 UMBC Presidential Research Professor, the winner of the 2013 IEEE Photonics Society William Streifer Award, and a 2015–2016 winner of the Humboldt Foundation Research Award.