Vernier frequency division with dual-microresonator solitons.
ABSTRACT: Microresonator solitons are critical to miniaturize optical frequency combs to chip scale and have the potential to revolutionize spectroscopy, metrology and timing. With the reduction of resonator diameter, high repetition rates up to 1 THz become possible, and they are advantageous to wavelength multiplexing, coherent sampling, and self-referencing. However, the detection of comb repetition rate, the precursor to all comb-based applications, becomes challenging at these repetition rates due to the limited bandwidth of photodiodes and electronics. Here, we report a dual-comb Vernier frequency division method to vastly reduce the required electrical bandwidth. Free-running 216 GHz "Vernier" solitons sample and divide the main soliton's repetition frequency from 197 GHz to 995 MHz through electrical processing of a pair of low frequency dual-comb beat notes. Our demonstration relaxes the instrumentation requirement for microcomb repetition rate detection, and could be applied for optical clocks, optical frequency division, and microwave photonics.
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:Soliton frequency combs generate equally-distant frequencies, offering a powerful tool for fast and accurate measurements over broad spectral ranges. The generation of solitons in microresonators can further improve the compactness of comb sources. However the geometry and the material's inertness of pristine microresonators limit their potential in applications such as gas molecule detection. Here, we realize a two-dimensional-material functionalized microcomb sensor by asymmetrically depositing graphene in an over-modal microsphere. By using one single pump, spectrally trapped Stokes solitons belonging to distinct transverse mode families are co-generated in one single device. Such Stokes solitons with locked repetition rate but different offsets produce ultrasensitive beat notes in the electrical domain, offering unique advantages for selective and individual gas molecule detection. Moreover, the stable nature of the solitons enables us to trace the frequency shift of the dual-soliton beat-note with uncertainty <0.2 Hz and to achieve real-time individual gas molecule detection in vacuum, via an optoelectronic heterodyne detection scheme. This combination of atomically thin materials and microcombs shows the potential for compact photonic sensing with high performances and offers insights toward the design of versatile functionalized microcavity photonic devices.
Project description:Broadband optical frequency combs are extremely versatile tools for precision spectroscopy, ultrafast ranging, as channel generators for telecom networks, and for many other metrology applications. Here, we demonstrate that the optical spectrum of a soliton microcomb generated in a microresonator can be extended by bichromatic pumping: one laser with a wavelength in the anomalous dispersion regime of the microresonator generates a bright soliton microcomb while another laser in the normal dispersion regime both compensates the thermal effect of the microresonator and generates a repetition-rate-synchronized second frequency comb. Numerical simulations agree well with experimental results and reveal that a bright optical pulse from the second pump is passively formed in the normal dispersion regime and trapped by the primary soliton. In addition, we demonstrate that a dispersive wave can be generated and influenced by cross-phase-modulation-mediated repetition-rate synchronization of the two combs. The demonstrated technique provides an alternative way to generate broadband microcombs and enables the selective enhancement of optical power in specific parts of a comb spectrum.
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: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:Kerr resonators support novel nonlinear wave phenomena including technologically important optical solitons. Fiber Kerr resonator solitons enable wavelength and repetition-rate versatile femtosecond-pulse and frequency-comb generation. However, key performance parameters, such as pulse duration, lag behind those from traditional mode-locked laser-based sources. Here we present new pulse generation in dispersion-managed Kerr resonators based on stretched-pulse solitons, which support the shortest pulses to date from a fiber Kerr resonator. In contrast to established Kerr resonator solitons, stretched-pulse solitons feature Gaussian temporal profiles that stretch and compress each round trip. Experimental results are in excellent agreement with numerical simulations. The dependence on dispersion and drive power are detailed theoretically and experimentally and design guidelines are presented for optimizing performance. Kerr resonator stretched-pulse solitons represent a new stable nonlinear waveform and a promising technique for femtosecond pulse generation.
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 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:An optical frequency comb generated with an electro-optic phase modulator and a chirped radiofrequency waveform is used to perform pump-probe spectroscopy on the D1 and D2 transitions of atomic potassium at 770.1 nm and 766.7 nm, respectively. With a comb tooth spacing of 200 kHz and an optical bandwidth of 2 GHz the hyperfine transitions can be simultaneously observed. Interferograms are recorded in as little as 5 ?s (a timescale corresponding to the inverse of the comb tooth spacing). Importantly, the sub-Doppler features can be measured as long as the laser carrier frequency lies within the Doppler profile, thus removing the need for slow scanning or a priori knowledge of the frequencies of the sub-Doppler features. Sub-Doppler optical frequency comb spectroscopy has the potential to dramatically reduce acquisition times and allow for rapid and accurate assignment of complex molecular and atomic spectra which are presently intractable.
Project description:High-repetition-rate pulses have widespread applications in the fields of fiber communications, frequency comb, and optical sensing. Here, we have demonstrated high-repetition-rate ultrashort pulses in an all-fiber laser by exploiting an intracavity Mach-Zehnder interferometer (MZI) as a comb filter. The repetition rate of the laser can be tuned flexibly from about 7 to 1100 GHz by controlling the optical path difference between the two arms of the MZI. The pulse duration can be reduced continuously from about 10.1 to 0.55 ps with the spectral width tunable from about 0.35 to 5.7 nm by manipulating the intracavity polarization controller. Numerical simulations well confirm the experimental observations and show that filter-driven four-wave mixing effect, induced by the MZI, is the main mechanism that governs the formation of the high-repetition-rate pulses. This all-fiber-based laser is a simple and low-cost source for various applications where high-repetition-rate pulses are necessary.