In our experiment we use silicon nitride waveguides embedded in silicon dioxide on a silicon chip. The cross section of the waveguide is approximately 1.8µm width by 0.8µm height and the ring resonator has a radius of 120µm. This resonator is coupled to a bus waveguide that is used to couple the continuous wave pump light into the resonator and the light from the resonator out again. The pump laser is an amplified diode laser which provides around 2W of pump power in the bus waveguide on the photonic chip. If the pump light is in resonance with one of the resonances of the resonator we can generate a frequency comb from the pump light via the Kerr nonlinearity of the material. The spacing in between the lines of the frequency comb is close to the free spectral range of the resonator, which is 190 GHz for the resonator used. By tuning the pump laser through the resonance and modulating the power of the pump light we can achieve a stable state with a pulsed-shape waveform circulating inside the microresonator. These states are known as dissipative Kerr soliton states and they are solutions to the Lugiato-Lefever equation, which describes the nonlinear physics of the system. So far they had been experimentally demonstrated in fiber-ring cavities as well as crystalline microresonators. The main benefits of these states for Kerr frequency combs is that they allow for low-noise but broadband frequency combs with low modulation in the spectrum. In our case we report a 3-dB bandwidth of 10THz which is equivalent to sub-30fs pulses inside the resonator. Because of the chosen geometry of the waveguide cross section we also observe an effect which is caused by higher-order dispersion. Higher-order dispersion are terms that describe the dispersion beyond the quadratic group velocity dispersion. In order for dissipative Kerr solitons to form, anomalous group velocity dispersion is required. If higher-order terms are present as well, the soliton can still exist but additional dynamics come into play resulting in so called soliton Cherenkov radiation or a dispersive wave. In our measured spectrum this feature can be easily identified as a local maximum offset from the pump wavelength. In the time domain the soliton Cherenkov radiation manifests itself as an oscillating tail that is attached to the soliton pulse inside the microresonator. Using simulated values for the dispersion and coupled-mode equations to numerically simulate the physics inside the microresonator we can achieve a very good agreement between the experimentally observed and the simulated spectrum. In order to demonstrate that our frequency comb can be used for metrological applications we implement a full stabilization of the frequency comb and achieve a relative stability of 1e-15. Additionally we use the large bandwidth of 2/3 of an octave to implement a 2f-3f-scheme in order to monitor the carrier envelope offset of the frequency comb in a self-referenced manner.
In summary we have observed for the first time a soliton-based, broadband frequency comb in integrated microresonators. These frequency combs are perfectly suited for spectroscopy and data communication applications.
Victor Brasch, Michael Geiselmann, Tobias Herr, Grigoriy Lihachev, Martin H. P. Pfeiffer, Michael L. Gorodetsky, and Tobias J. Kippenberg, "Chipscale optical frequency combs: from soliton physics to coherent communication
(Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 9900, Quantum Optics, 99000Z (Presented at SPIE Photonics Europe: April 07, 2016; Published: 3 August 2016); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2231293.5042210255001.
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