Passively mode-locked interband cascade optical frequency combs.
ABSTRACT: Since their inception, optical frequency combs have transformed a broad range of technical and scientific disciplines, spanning time keeping to navigation. Recently, dual comb spectroscopy has emerged as an attractive alternative to traditional Fourier transform spectroscopy, since it offers higher measurement sensitivity in a fraction of the time. Midwave infrared (mid-IR) frequency combs are especially promising as an effective means for probing the strong fundamental absorption lines of numerous chemical and biological agents. Mid-IR combs have been realized via frequency down-conversion of a near-IR comb, by optical pumping of a micro-resonator, and beyond 7 ?m by four-wave mixing in a quantum cascade laser. In this work, we demonstrate an electrically-driven frequency comb source that spans more than 1?THz of bandwidth centered near 3.6 ?m. This is achieved by passively mode-locking an interband cascade laser (ICL) with gain and saturable absorber sections monolithically integrated on the same chip. The new source will significantly enhance the capabilities of mid-IR multi-heterodyne frequency comb spectroscopy systems.
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 (DCS) offers high sensitivity and wide spectral coverage without the need for bulky spectrometers or mechanical moving parts. And DCS in the mid-infrared (mid-IR) is of keen interest because of inherently strong molecular spectroscopic signatures in these bands. We report GHz-resolution mid-IR DCS of methane and ethane that is derived from counter-propagating (CP) soliton microcombs in combination with interleaved difference frequency generation. Because all four combs required to generate the two mid-IR combs rely upon stability derived from a single high-Q microcavity, the system architecture is both simplified and does not require external frequency locking. Methane and ethane spectra are measured over intervals as short as 0.5 ms, a time scale that can be further reduced using a different CP soliton arrangement. Also, tuning of spectral resolution on demand is demonstrated. Although at an early phase of development, the results are a step towards mid-IR gas sensors with chip-based architectures for chemical threat detection, breath analysis, combustion studies, and outdoor observation of trace gases. Chip-based architectures for mid-infrared gas sensing could enable many applications. In this direction, the authors demonstrate a microcomb-based dual-comb spectroscopy sensor with GHz resolution in the mid-IR band, with stability completely determined by a single high-Q microresonator.
Project description:Frequency-stabilized optical frequency combs have created many high-precision applications. Accurate timing, ultralow phase noise, and narrow linewidth are prerequisites for achieving the ultimate performance of comb-based systems. Ultrastable cavity-based comb-noise stabilization methods have enabled sub-10-15-level frequency instability. However, these methods are complex and alignment sensitive, and their use has been mostly confined to advanced metrology laboratories. Here, we have established a simple, compact, alignment-free, and potentially low-cost all-fiber photonics-based stabilization method for generating multiple ultrastable combs. The achieved performance includes 1-femtosecond timing jitter, few times 10-15-level frequency instability, and <5-hertz linewidth, rivalling those of cavity-stabilized combs. This method features flexibility in configuration: As a representative example, two combs were stabilized with 180-hertz repetition rate difference and ~1-hertz relative linewidth and could be used as an ultrastable, octave-spanning dual-comb spectroscopy source. The demonstrated method constitutes a mechanically robust and reconfigurable tool for generating multiple ultrastable combs suitable for field applications.
Project description:A terahertz (THz) frequency comb capable of high-resolution measurement will significantly advance THz technology application in spectroscopy, metrology and sensing. The recently developed cryogenic-cooled THz quantum cascade laser (QCL) comb has exhibited great potentials with high power and broadband spectrum. Here, we report a room temperature THz harmonic frequency comb in 2.2 to 3.3?THz based on difference-frequency generation from a mid-IR QCL. The THz comb is intracavity generated via down-converting a mid-IR comb with an integrated mid-IR single mode based on distributed-feedback grating without using external optical elements. The grating Bragg wavelength is largely detuned from the gain peak to suppress the grating dispersion and support the comb operation in the high gain spectral range. Multiheterodyne spectroscopy with multiple equally spaced lines by beating it with a reference Fabry-Pérot comb confirms the THz comb operation. This type of THz comb will find applications to room temperature chip-based THz spectroscopy.
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.
Project description:Dissipative Kerr solitons (DKS) in optical microresonators provide a highly miniaturised, chip-integrated frequency comb source with unprecedentedly high repetition rates and spectral bandwidth. To date, such frequency comb sources have been successfully applied in the optical telecommunication band for dual-comb spectroscopy, coherent telecommunications, counting of optical frequencies and distance measurements. Yet, the range of applications could be significantly extended by operating in the near-infrared spectral domain, which is a prerequisite for biomedical and Raman imaging applications, and hosts commonly used optical atomic transitions. Here we show the operation of photonic-chip-based soliton Kerr combs driven with 1?micron laser light. By engineering the dispersion properties of a Si3N4 microring resonator, octave-spanning soliton Kerr combs extending to 776?nm are attained, thereby covering the optical biological imaging window. Moreover, we show that soliton states can be generated in normal group-velocity dispersion regions when exploiting mode hybridisation with other mode families.
Project description:The development of a spectroscopy device on a chip that could realize real-time fingerprinting with label-free and high-throughput detection of trace molecules represents one of the big challenges in sensing. Dual-comb spectroscopy (DCS) in the mid-infrared is a powerful technique offering high acquisition rates and signal-to-noise ratios through use of only a single detector with no moving parts. Here, we present a nanophotonic silicon-on-insulator platform designed for mid-infrared (mid-IR) DCS. A single continuous-wave low-power pump source generates two mutually coherent mode-locked frequency combs spanning from 2.6 to 4.1??m in two silicon microresonators. A proof-of-principle experiment of vibrational absorption DCS in the liquid phase is achieved acquiring spectra of acetone spanning from 2900 to 3100?nm at 127-GHz (4.2-cm-1) resolution. These results represent a significant step towards a broadband, mid-IR spectroscopy instrument on a chip for liquid/condensed matter phase studies.
Project description:Optical frequency combs have the potential to revolutionize terabit communications1. Generation of Kerr combs in nonlinear microresonators2 represents a particularly promising option3 enabling line spacings of tens of GHz. However, such combs may exhibit strong phase noise4-6, which has made high-speed data transmission impossible up to now. Here we demonstrate that systematic adjustment of pump conditions for low phase noise4,7-9 enables coherent data transmission with advanced modulation formats that pose stringent requirements on the spectral purity of the comb. In a first experiment, we encode a data stream of 392 Gbit/s on a Kerr comb using quadrature phase shift keying (QPSK) and 16-state quadrature amplitude modulation (16QAM). A second experiment demonstrates feedback-stabilization of the comb and transmission of a 1.44 Tbit/s data stream over up to 300 km. The results show that Kerr combs meet the highly demanding requirements of coherent communications and thus offer an attractive solution towards chip-scale terabit/s transceivers.
Project description:Electro-optic frequency combs were employed to rapidly interrogate an optomechanical sensor, demonstrating spectral resolution substantially exceeding that possible with a mode-locked frequency comb. Frequency combs were generated using an integrated-circuit-based direct digital synthesizer and utilized in a self-heterodyne configuration. Unlike approaches based upon laser locking, the present approach allows rapid, parallel measurements of full optical cavity modes, large dynamic range of sensor displacement, and acquisition across a wide frequency range between DC and 500 kHz. In addition to being well suited to measurements of acceleration, this optical frequency comb-based approach can be utilized for interrogation in a wide range of cavity optomechanical sensors.
Project description:Optical multi-dimensional coherent spectroscopy is a powerful technique for studying the structure, properties and ultrafast dynamics of atoms, molecules, semiconductor materials and complex systems. Current implementations of multi-dimensional coherent spectroscopy have long acquisition times and/or limited spectral resolution. In addition, most of the techniques utilize complex geometries or phase cycling schemes to isolate non-linear signals. We demonstrate a novel approach of using frequency combs to perform rapid, high resolution and background free multi-dimensional coherent spectroscopy of semiconductor materials. Our approach is inspired by dual-comb spectroscopy, which has been proven to be a versatile tool for obtaining one dimensional absorption spectra with high resolution in a short acquisition time. We demonstrate the method using a GaAs multi-quantum well sample.