Event DetailsEvent Dates: Wednesday, December 3, 2014 - 4:00pmSeminar Location: Duane Physics Room G1B20Speaker Name(s): Scott DiddamsSpeaker Affiliation(s): University of Colorado Boulder Seminar Type/SubjectScientific Seminar Type: Physics Department ColloquiumEvent Details & Abstract: In the past decade, clocks “ticking” at optical frequencies have surpassed in performance their much slower microwave counterparts. The implication is that time intervals can now be sub-divided to below the femtosecond (10-15 s) that represents a typical optical cycle. In this new generation of clocks, a laser plays the role of the pendulum, which has its frequency guided on long timescales by an atomic reference transition. A laser frequency comb functions as the clockwork that accumulates optical cycles in order to ultimately realize a second. In this talk, I will provide an overview of the science and technology behind optical clocks, with a focus on practical and fundamental limitations to timing precision on long and short timescales. In particular, I will highlight recent developments that provide a means to synthesize signals from the radio frequencies to millimeter waves with attosecond (10-18 s) timing precision. Finally, I will attempt to offer some perspective on the challenges and opportunities for optical timekeeping that might lie ahead. Along these lines, I will describe recent experiments with a new class of low-noise lasers and frequency combs based on monolithic microresonators. Among their benefits, these chip-scale devices have the potential to significantly reduce the bulk, cost, and complexity of key components needed to move optical timing beyond the research lab.