Abstract

Neuromorphic photonics that aims to process and store information simultaneously like human brains has emerged as a promising alternative for next generation intelligent computing systems. The implementation of hardware emulating the basic functionality of neurons and synapses is the fundamental work in this field. However, previously proposed optical neurons implemented with SOA-MZIs, modulators, lasers or phase change materials are all dependent on active devices and pose challenges for integration. Meanwhile, although the nonlinearity in nanocavities has long been of interest, the previous theories are intended for specific situations, e.g., self-pulsation in microrings, and there is still a lack of systematic studies in the excitability behavior of the nanocavities including the silicon photonic crystal cavities. Here, we report for the first time a universal coupled mode theory model for all side-coupled passive microresonators. The excitability of microresonators resulting from the subcritical Andronov-Hopf bifurcation is categorized as Class 2 neural excitability and can be used to mimic the Hodgkin-Huxley neuron model. We demonstrate that the microresonator-based neuron can exhibit the typical characteristics of spiking neurons: excitability threshold, leaky integrating dynamics, refractory period, cascadability and inhibitory spiking behavior, paving the way to realize all-optical spiking neural networks.

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