Abstract

High- and ultrahigh-Q whispering-gallery mode resonators have the capability to trap photons by total internal reflection for a duration ranging from nanoseconds to milliseconds. These exceptionally long photon lifetimes enhance the light–matter interactions at all scales, namely at the electronic, molecular, and lattice levels. As a consequence, nonlinear photon scattering can be triggered with very low threshold powers, down to a few microwatts. The possibility to efficiently harness photon–photon interactions with a system optimizing size, weight, power, and cost constraints has created a new, quickly thriving research area in photonics science and technology. This topic is inherently cross-disciplinary, as it stands at the intersection of nonlinear and quantum optics, crystallography, optoelectronics, and microwave photonics. From a fundamental perspective, high-Q whispering-gallery mode resonators have emerged as an ideal platform to investigate light–matter interactions in nonlinear bulk materials. From an applied viewpoint, technological applications include time-metrology, aerospace engineering, coherent optical fiber communications, or nonclassical light generation, among others. The aim of this paper is to provide an overview of the most recent advances in this area, which is increasingly gaining importance in contemporary photonics.

© 2017 Optical Society of America

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