Photonic chip-based soliton frequency combs covering the biological imaging window.
ABSTRACT: 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:Broadband and low-noise microresonator frequency combs (microcombs) are critical for deployable optical frequency measurements. Here we expand the bandwidth of a microcomb far beyond its anomalous dispersion region on both sides of its spectrum through spectral translation mediated by mixing of a dissipative Kerr soliton and a secondary pump. We introduce the concept of synthetic dispersion to qualitatively capture the system's key physical behavior, in which the second pump enables spectral translation through four-wave mixing Bragg scattering. Experimentally, we pump a silicon nitride microring at 1063 nm and 1557 nm to enable soliton spectral translation, resulting in a total bandwidth of 1.6 octaves (137-407 THz). We examine the comb's low-noise characteristics, through heterodyne beat note measurements across its spectrum, measurements of the comb tooth spacing in its primary and spectrally translated portions, and their relative noise. These ultra-broadband microcombs provide new opportunities for optical frequency synthesis, optical atomic clocks, and reaching previously unattainable wavelengths.
Project description:Dissipative Kerr solitons in resonant frequency combs offer a promising route for ultrafast mode-locking, precision spectroscopy and time-frequency standards. The dynamics for the dissipative soliton generation, however, are intrinsically intertwined with thermal nonlinearities, limiting the soliton generation parameter map and statistical success probabilities of the solitary state. Here, via use of an auxiliary laser heating approach to suppress thermal dragging dynamics in dissipative soliton comb formation, we demonstrate stable Kerr soliton singlet formation and soliton bursts. First, we access a new soliton existence range with an inverse-sloped Kerr soliton evolution-diminishing soliton energy with increasing pump detuning. Second, we achieve deterministic transitions from Turing-like comb patterns directly into the dissipative Kerr soliton singlet pulse bypassing the chaotic states. This is achieved by avoiding subcomb overlaps at lower pump power, with near-identical singlet soliton comb generation over twenty instances. Third, with the red-detuned pump entrance route enabled, we uncover unique spontaneous soliton bursts in the direct formation of low-noise optical frequency combs from continuum background noise. The burst dynamics are due to the rapid entry and mutual attraction of the pump laser into the cavity mode, aided by the auxiliary laser and matching well with our numerical simulations. Enabled by the auxiliary-assisted frequency comb dynamics, we demonstrate an application of automatic soliton comb recovery and long-term stabilization against strong external perturbations. Our findings hold potential to expand the parameter space for ultrafast nonlinear dynamics and precision optical frequency comb stabilization.
Project description:Microresonator frequency combs can be an enabling technology for optical frequency synthesis and timekeeping in low size, weight, and power architectures. Such systems require comb operation in low-noise, phase-coherent states such as solitons, with broad spectral bandwidths (e.g., octave-spanning) for self-referencing to detect the carrier-envelope offset frequency. However, accessing such states is complicated by thermo-optic dispersion. For example, in the Si3N4 platform, precisely dispersion-engineered structures can support broadband operation, but microsecond thermal time constants often require fast pump power or frequency control to stabilize the solitons. In contrast, here we consider how broadband soliton states can be accessed with simple pump laser frequency tuning, at a rate much slower than the thermal dynamics. We demonstrate octave-spanning soliton frequency combs in Si3N4 microresonators, including the generation of a multi-soliton state with a pump power near 40 mW and a single-soliton state with a pump power near 120 mW. We also develop a simplified two-step analysis to explain how these states are accessed without fast control of the pump laser, and outline the required thermal properties for such operation. Our model agrees with experimental results as well as numerical simulations based on a Lugiato-Lefever equation that incorporates thermo-optic dispersion. Moreover, it also explains an experimental observation that a member of an adjacent mode family on the red-detuned side of the pump mode can mitigate the thermal requirements for accessing soliton states.
Project description:Dissipative Kerr soliton (DKS) featuring broadband coherent frequency comb with compact size and low power consumption, provides an unparalleled tool for nonlinear physics investigation and precise measurement applications. However, the complex nonlinear dynamics generally leads to stochastic soliton formation process and makes it highly challenging to manipulate soliton number and temporal distribution in the microcavity. Here, synthesized and reconfigurable soliton crystals (SCs) are demonstrated by constructing a periodic intra-cavity potential field, which allows deterministic SCs synthesis with soliton numbers from 1 to 32 in a monolithic integrated microcavity. The ordered temporal distribution coherently enhanced the soliton crystal comb lines power up to 3 orders of magnitude in comparison to the single-soliton state. The interaction between the traveling potential field and the soliton crystals creates periodic forces on soliton and results in forced soliton oscillation. Our work paves the way to effectively manipulate cavity solitons. The demonstrated synthesized SCs offer reconfigurable temporal and spectral profiles, which provide compelling advantages for practical applications such as photonic radar, satellite communication and radio-frequency filter.
Project description:Dissipative Kerr solitons are self-sustaining optical wavepackets in resonators. They use the Kerr nonlinearity to both compensate dispersion and offset optical loss. Besides providing insights into nonlinear resonator physics, they can be applied in frequency metrology, precision clocks, and spectroscopy. Like other optical solitons, the dissipative Kerr soliton can radiate power as a dispersive wave through a process that is the optical analogue of Cherenkov radiation. Dispersive waves typically consist of an ensemble of optical modes. Here, a limiting case is studied in which the dispersive wave is concentrated into a single cavity mode. In this limit, its interaction with the soliton induces hysteresis behaviour in the soliton's spectral and temporal properties. Also, an operating point of enhanced repetition-rate stability occurs through balance of dispersive-wave recoil and Raman-induced soliton-self-frequency shift. The single-mode dispersive wave can therefore provide quiet states of soliton comb operation useful in many applications.
Project description:Spectral domain optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a widely employed, minimally invasive bio-medical imaging technique, which requires a broadband light source, typically implemented by super-luminescent diodes. Recent advances in soliton based photonic integrated frequency combs (soliton microcombs) have enabled the development of low-noise, broadband chipscale frequency comb sources, whose potential for OCT imaging has not yet been unexplored. Here, we explore the use of dissipative Kerr soliton microcombs in spectral domain OCT and show that, by using photonic chipscale Si<sub>3</sub>N<sub>4</sub> resonators in conjunction with 1300 nm pump lasers, spectral bandwidths exceeding those of commercial OCT sources are possible. We characterized the exceptional noise properties of our source (in comparison to conventional OCT sources) and demonstrate that the soliton states in microresonators exhibit a residual intensity noise floor at high offset frequencies that is ca. 3 dB lower than a traditional OCT source at identical power, and can exhibit significantly lower noise performance for powers at the milli-Watt level. Moreover, we demonstrate that classical amplitude noise of all soliton comb teeth are correlated, i.e., common mode, in contrast to superluminescent diodes or incoherent microcomb states, which opens a new avenue to improve imaging speed and performance beyond the thermal noise limit.
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:A single closed-form analytical solution of the driven nonlinear Schrödinger equation is developed, reproducing a large class of the behaviors in Kerr-comb systems, including bright-solitons, dark-solitons, and a large class of periodic wavetrains. From this analytical framework, a Kerr-comb area theorem and a pump-detuning relation are developed, providing new insights into soliton- and wavetrain-based combs along with concrete design guidelines for both. This new area theorem reveals significant deviation from the conventional soliton area theorem, which is crucial to understanding cavity solitons in certain limits. Moreover, these closed-form solutions represent the first step towards an analytical framework for wavetrain formation, and reveal new parameter regimes for enhanced Kerr-comb performance.
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:Optical soliton molecules are bound states of solitons that arise from the balance between attractive and repulsive effects. Having been observed in systems ranging from optical fibres to mode-locked lasers, they provide insights into the fundamental interactions between solitons and the underlying dynamics of the nonlinear systems. Here, we enter the multistability regime of a Kerr microresonator to generate superpositions of distinct soliton states that are pumped at the same optical resonance, and report the discovery of heteronuclear dissipative Kerr soliton molecules. Ultrafast electrooptical sampling reveals the tightly short-range bound nature of such soliton molecules, despite comprising cavity solitons of dissimilar amplitudes, durations and carrier frequencies. Besides the significance they hold in resolving soliton dynamics in complex nonlinear systems, such heteronuclear soliton molecules yield coherent frequency combs whose unusual mode structure may find applications in metrology and spectroscopy.