Composite laser-pulses spectroscopy for high-accuracy optical clocks: A review of recent progress and perspectives

Thomas Zanon-Willette, Rémi Lefevre, Rémi Metzdorff, Nicolas Sillitoe, Sylvain Almonacil, Marco Minissale, Emeric De Clercq, Alexey V. Taichenachev, Valeriy I. Yudin, Ennio Arimondo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Probing an atomic resonance without disturbing it is an ubiquitous issue in physics. This problem is critical in high-accuracy spectroscopy or for the next generation of atomic optical clocks. Ultra-high resolution frequency metrology requires sophisticated interrogation schemes and robust protocols handling pulse length errors and residual frequency detuning offsets. This review reports recent progress and perspective in such schemes, using sequences of composite laser-pulses tailored in pulse duration, frequency and phase, inspired by NMR techniques and quantum information processing. After a short presentation of Rabi technique and NMR-like composite pulses allowing efficient compensation of electromagnetic field perturbations to achieve robust population transfers, composite laser-pulses are investigated within Ramsey's method of separated oscillating fields in order to generate non-linear compensation of probe-induced frequency shifts. Laser-pulses protocols such as hyper-Ramsey, modified hyper-Ramsey, generalized hyper-Ramsey and hybrid schemes as auto-balanced Ramsey spectroscopy are reviewed. These techniques provide excellent protection against both probe induced light-shift perturbations and laser intensity variations. More sophisticated schemes generating synthetic frequency-shifts are presented. They allow to reduce or completely eliminate imperfect correction of probe-induced frequency-shifts even in presence of decoherence due to the laser line-width. Finally, two universal protocols are presented which provide complete elimination of probe-induced frequency shifts in the general case where both decoherence and relaxation dissipation effects are present by using exact analytic expressions for phase-shifts and the clock frequency detuning. These techniques might be applied to atomic, molecular and nuclear frequency metrology, Ramsey-type mass spectrometry as well as precision spectroscopy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number094401
Number of pages32
JournalReports on Progress in Physics
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018


  • atomic clock
  • composite pulse
  • frequency standard
  • laser spectroscopy

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