We have developed phase-sensitive signal detection and processing algorithms for Fourier transform spectrometers fitted with supercontinuum sources for applications requiring ultimate sensitivity. Analogous to well-established approach of source noise cancellation through balanced detection of monochromatic light, our method is capable of reducing the relative intensity noise of polychromatic light by 40 dB. Unlike conventional balanced detection, which relies on differential absorption measured with a well matched pair of photo-detectors, our algorithm utilizes phase-sensitive differential detection on a single photodiode and is capable of the real-time correction for instabilities in supercontinuum spectral structure over a broad range of wavelengths. The resulting method is universal in terms of applicable wavelengths and compatible with commercial spectrometers. We present a proof-of-principle experimental setup achieving signal-to-noise ratios within a factor of three of the shot-noise limit.

© 2013 Optical Society of America

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