A broadband chip-scale optical frequency synthesizer at 2.7 × 10(-16) relative uncertainty.
ABSTRACT: Optical frequency combs-coherent light sources that connect optical frequencies with microwave oscillations-have become the enabling tool for precision spectroscopy, optical clockwork, and attosecond physics over the past decades. Current benchmark systems are self-referenced femtosecond mode-locked lasers, but Kerr nonlinear dynamics in high-Q solid-state microresonators has recently demonstrated promising features as alternative platforms. The advance not only fosters studies of chip-scale frequency metrology but also extends the realm of optical frequency combs. We report the full stabilization of chip-scale optical frequency combs. The microcomb's two degrees of freedom, one of the comb lines and the native 18-GHz comb spacing, are simultaneously phase-locked to known optical and microwave references. Active comb spacing stabilization improves long-term stability by six orders of magnitude, reaching a record instrument-limited residual instability of [Formula: see text]. Comparing 46 nitride frequency comb lines with a fiber laser frequency comb, we demonstrate the unprecedented microcomb tooth-to-tooth relative frequency uncertainty down to 50 mHz and 2.7 × 10(-16), heralding novel solid-state applications in precision spectroscopy, coherent communications, and astronomical spectrography.
Project description:With optical spectral marks equally spaced by a frequency in the microwave or the radio frequency domain, optical frequency combs have been used not only to synthesize optical frequencies from microwave references but also to generate ultralow-noise microwaves via optical frequency division. Here, we combine two compact frequency combs, namely, a soliton microcomb and a semiconductor gain-switched comb, to demonstrate low-noise microwave generation based on a novel frequency division technique. Using a semiconductor laser that is driven by a sinusoidal current and injection-locked to microresonator solitons, our scheme transfers the spectral purity of a dissipative soliton oscillator into the subharmonic frequencies of the microcomb repetition rate. In addition, the gain-switched comb provides dense optical spectral emissions that divide the line spacing of the soliton microcomb. With the potential to be fully integrated, the merger of the two chipscale devices may profoundly facilitate the wide application of frequency comb technology.
Project description:Microresonator frequency combs harness the nonlinear Kerr effect in an integrated optical cavity to generate a multitude of phase-locked frequency lines. The line spacing can reach values in the order of 100?GHz, making it an attractive multi-wavelength light source for applications in fiber-optic communications. Depending on the dispersion of the microresonator, different physical dynamics have been observed. A recently discovered comb state corresponds to the formation of mode-locked dark pulses in a normal-dispersion microcavity. Such dark-pulse combs are particularly compelling for advanced coherent communications since they display unusually high power-conversion efficiency. Here, we report the first coherent-transmission experiments using 64-quadrature amplitude modulation encoded onto the frequency lines of a dark-pulse comb. The high conversion efficiency of the comb enables transmitted optical signal-to-noise ratios above 33?dB, while maintaining a laser pump power level compatible with state-of-the-art hybrid silicon lasers.
Project description:Laser frequency combs are coherent light sources that simultaneously provide pristine frequency spacings for precision metrology and the fundamental basis for ultrafast and attosecond sciences. Recently, nonlinear parametric conversion in high-Q microresonators has been suggested as an alternative platform for optical frequency combs, though almost all in 100 GHz frequencies or more. Here we report a low-phase-noise on-chip Kerr frequency comb with mode spacing compatible with high-speed silicon optoelectronics. The waveguide cross-section of the silicon nitride spiral resonator is designed to possess small and flattened group velocity dispersion, so that the Kerr frequency comb contains a record-high number of 3,600 phase-locked comb lines. We study the single-sideband phase noise as well as the long-term frequency stability and report the lowest phase noise floor achieved to date with -130 dBc/Hz at 1 MHz offset for the 18 GHz Kerr comb oscillator, along with feedback stabilization to achieve frequency Allan deviations of 7 × 10(-11) in 1 s. The reported system is a promising compact platform for achieving self-referenced Kerr frequency combs and also for high-capacity coherent communication architectures.
Project description:Micro-combs - optical frequency combs generated by integrated micro-cavity resonators - offer the full potential of their bulk counterparts, but in an integrated footprint. They have enabled breakthroughs in many fields including spectroscopy, microwave photonics, frequency synthesis, optical ranging, quantum sources, metrology and ultrahigh capacity data transmission. Here, by using a powerful class of micro-comb called soliton crystals, we achieve ultra-high data transmission over 75?km of standard optical fibre using a single integrated chip source. We demonstrate a line rate of 44.2 Terabits s-1 using the telecommunications C-band at 1550?nm with a spectral efficiency of 10.4 bits s-1 Hz-1. Soliton crystals exhibit robust and stable generation and operation as well as a high intrinsic efficiency that, together with an extremely low soliton micro-comb spacing of 48.9?GHz enable the use of a very high coherent data modulation format (64 QAM - quadrature amplitude modulated). This work demonstrates the capability of optical micro-combs to perform in demanding and practical optical communications networks.
Project description:The mid-infrared spectral range (?~2-20??m) is of particular importance as many molecules exhibit strong vibrational fingerprints in this region. Optical frequency combs--broadband optical sources consisting of equally spaced and mutually coherent sharp lines--are creating new opportunities for advanced spectroscopy. Here we demonstrate a novel approach to create mid-infrared optical frequency combs via four-wave mixing in a continuous-wave pumped ultra-high Q crystalline microresonator made of magnesium fluoride. Careful choice of the resonator material and design made it possible to generate a broadband, low-phase noise Kerr comb at ?=2.5??m spanning 200?nm (?10?THz) with a line spacing of 100?GHz. With its distinguishing features of compactness, efficient conversion, large mode spacing and high power per comb line, this novel frequency comb source holds promise for new approaches to molecular spectroscopy and is suitable to be extended further into the mid-infrared.
Project description:Dual-comb spectroscopy is a powerful technique for real-time, broadband optical sampling of molecular spectra, which requires no moving components. Recent developments with microresonator-based platforms have enabled frequency combs at the chip scale. However, the need to precisely match the resonance wavelengths of distinct high quality-factor microcavities has hindered the development of on-chip dual combs. We report the simultaneous generation of two microresonator combs on the same chip from a single laser, drastically reducing experimental complexity. We demonstrate broadband optical spectra spanning 51 THz and low-noise operation of both combs by deterministically tuning into soliton mode-locked states using integrated microheaters, resulting in narrow (<10 kHz) microwave beat notes. We further use one comb as a reference to probe the formation dynamics of the other comb, thus introducing a technique to investigate comb evolution without auxiliary lasers or microwave oscillators. We demonstrate high signal-to-noise ratio absorption spectroscopy spanning 170 nm using the dual-comb source over a 20-?s acquisition time. Our device paves the way for compact and robust spectrometers at nanosecond time scales enabled by large beat-note spacings (>1 GHz).
Project description:An important technique for discovering and characterizing planets beyond our solar system relies upon measurement of weak Doppler shifts in the spectra of host stars induced by the influence of orbiting planets. A recent advance has been the introduction of optical frequency combs as frequency references. Frequency combs produce a series of equally spaced reference frequencies and they offer extreme accuracy and spectral grasp that can potentially revolutionize exoplanet detection. Here we demonstrate a laser frequency comb using an alternate comb generation method based on electro-optical modulation, with the comb centre wavelength stabilized to a molecular or atomic reference. In contrast to mode-locked combs, the line spacing is readily resolvable using typical astronomical grating spectrographs. Built using commercial off-the-shelf components, the instrument is relatively simple and reliable. Proof of concept experiments operated at near-infrared wavelengths were carried out at the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility and the Keck-II telescope.
Project description:The synthesis of ultralow-noise microwaves is of both scientific and technological relevance for timing, metrology, communications and radio-astronomy. Today, the lowest reported phase noise signals are obtained via optical frequency-division using mode-locked laser frequency combs. Nonetheless, this technique ideally requires high repetition rates and tight comb stabilisation. Here, a microresonator-based Kerr frequency comb (soliton microcomb) with a 14 GHz repetition rate is generated with an ultra-stable pump laser and used to derive an ultralow-noise microwave reference signal, with an absolute phase noise level below -60 dBc/Hz at 1 Hz offset frequency and -135 dBc/Hz at 10 kHz. This is achieved using a transfer oscillator approach, where the free-running microcomb noise (which is carefully studied and minimised) is cancelled via a combination of electronic division and mixing. Although this proof-of-principle uses an auxiliary comb for detecting the microcomb's offset frequency, we highlight the prospects of this method with future self-referenced integrated microcombs and electro-optic combs, that would allow for ultralow-noise microwave and sub-terahertz signal generators.
Project description:Optical frequency combs in the terahertz frequency range are long-awaited frequency standards for spectroscopy of molecules and high-speed wireless communications. However, a terahertz frequency comb based on a low-cost, energy-efficient, and room-temperature-operating device remains unavailable especially in the frequency range of 0.1 to 3 THz. In this paper, we show that the resonant-tunneling-diode (RTD) oscillator can be passively mode-locked by optical feedback and generate a terahertz frequency comb. The standard deviation of the spacing between the comb lines, i.e., the repetition frequency, is reduced to less than 420 mHz by applying external bias modulation. A simulation model successfully reproduces the mode-locking behavior by including the nonlinear capacitance of RTD and multiple optical feedback. Since the mode-locked RTD oscillator is a simple semiconductor device that operates at room temperature and covers the frequency range of 0.1 to 2 THz (potentially up to 3 THz), it can be used as a frequency standard for future terahertz sensing and wireless communications.
Project description:Optical frequency combs are innovative tools for broadband spectroscopy because a series of comb modes can serve as frequency markers that are traceable to a microwave frequency standard. However, a mode distribution that is too discrete limits the spectral sampling interval to the mode frequency spacing even though individual mode linewidth is sufficiently narrow. Here, using a combination of a spectral interleaving and dual-comb spectroscopy in the terahertz (THz) region, we achieved a spectral sampling interval equal to the mode linewidth rather than the mode spacing. The spectrally interleaved THz comb was realized by sweeping the laser repetition frequency and interleaving additional frequency marks. In low-pressure gas spectroscopy, we achieved an improved spectral sampling density of 2.5 MHz and enhanced spectral accuracy of 8.39 × 10(-7) in the THz region. The proposed method is a powerful tool for simultaneously achieving high resolution, high accuracy, and broad spectral coverage in THz spectroscopy.