An opto-electronic system and technique for comparing laser frequencies with large frequency separations, establishing new frequency standards, and achieving phase-sensitive detection at ultra high frequencies. Light responsive materials with multiple energy levels suitable for multi-photon excitation are preferably used for nonlinear mixing via quantum interference of different excitation paths affecting a common energy level. Demodulation of a carrier with a demodulation frequency up to 100's THZ can be achieved for frequency comparison and phase-sensitive detection. A large number of materials can be used to cover a wide spectral range including the ultra violet, visible and near infrared regions. In particular, absolute frequency measurement in a spectrum from 1.25 .mu.m to 1.66 .mu.m for fiber optics can be accomplished with a nearly continuous frequency coverage.
ORIGIN OF THE INVENTION
The U.S. Government has certain rights in this invention pursuant to Grant No. DE-FG03-94ER14473 awarded by the Division of Chemical Science, Office of Basic Energy Science, Office of Energy Research, Department of Energy.