A 920-Kilometer Optical Fiber Link for Frequency Metrology at the 19th Decimal Place

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Science  27 Apr 2012:
Vol. 336, Issue 6080, pp. 441-444
DOI: 10.1126/science.1218442

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Optical clocks show unprecedented accuracy, surpassing that of previously available clock systems by more than one order of magnitude. Precise intercomparisons will enable a variety of experiments, including tests of fundamental quantum physics and cosmology and applications in geodesy and navigation. Well-established, satellite-based techniques for microwave dissemination are not adequate to compare optical clocks. Here, we present phase-stabilized distribution of an optical frequency over 920 kilometers of telecommunication fiber. We used two antiparallel fiber links to determine their fractional frequency instability (modified Allan deviation) to 5 × 10−15 in a 1-second integration time, reaching 10−18 in less than 1000 seconds. For long integration times τ, the deviation from the expected frequency value has been constrained to within 4 × 10−19. The link may serve as part of a Europe-wide optical frequency dissemination network.

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