Optical cavities are able to confine and store specific wavelengths of light, acting as optical amplifiers at those wavelengths. Because the amount of amplification is directly related to the cavity quality factor (Q) (or the cavity finesse), frequency comb research has focused on high-Q and ultra-high Q microcavities fabricated from a range of materials using a variety of methods. In all cases, the comb generation relies on a nonlinear process known as parametric frequency conversion which is based on a third order nonlinear interaction and which results in four wave mixing (FWM). Clearly, this approach requires significant optical power, which was the original motivation for using ultra-high-Q cavities. In fact, the majority of research to date has focused on pursuing increasingly high Q factors. However, another strategy is to improve the nonlinearity of the resonator through intelligently designing materials for this application. In the present work, a suite of nanomaterials (organic and inorganic) have been intelligently designed with the explicit purpose to enhance the nonlinearity of the resonator and reducing the threshold for frequency comb generation in the near-IR. The nanomaterials do not change the structure of the comb and only act to reduce the comb threshold. The silica microcavity is used as a testbed for initial demonstration and verification purposes. However, the fundamental strategy is translatable to other whispering gallery mode cavities.
Andrea M. Armani, Rigoberto Castro-Beltran, Vinh Diep, Eda Gungor, Xiaoqin Shen, and Soheil Soltani, "Nanomaterial-enhanced frequency combs (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10090, Laser Resonators, Microresonators, and Beam Control XIX, 100900B (Presented at SPIE LASE: January 30, 2017; Published: 21 April 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2249698.5387835762001.
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