Abstract

Frequency combs are having a broad impact on science and technology because they provide a way to coherently link radio/microwave-rate electrical signals with optical-rate signals derived from lasers and atomic transitions. Integrating these systems on a photonic chip would revolutionize instrumentation, time keeping, spectroscopy, navigation, and potentially create new mass-market applications. A key element of such a system-on-a-chip will be a mode-locked comb that can be self-referenced. The recent demonstration of soliton mode locking in crystalline and silicon nitride microresonators has provided a way to both mode lock and generate femtosecond time-scale pulses. Here, soliton mode locking is demonstrated in high-Q silica resonators. The resonators produce low-phase-noise soliton pulse trains at readily detectable pulse rates—two essential properties for the operation of frequency combs. A method for the long-term stabilization of the solitons is also demonstrated, and is used to test the theoretical dependence of the comb power, efficiency, and soliton existence power on the pulse width. The influence of the Raman process on the soliton existence power and efficiency is also observed. The resonators are microfabricated on silicon chips and feature reproducible modal properties required for soliton formation. A low-noise and detectable pulse rate soliton frequency comb on a chip is a significant step towards a fully integrated frequency comb system.

© 2015 Optical Society of America

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Corrections

18 December 2015: A correction was made to the funding section.


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References

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2015 (5)

P. Del’Haye, A. Coillet, W. Loh, K. Beha, S. B. Papp, and S. A. Diddams, “Phase steps and resonator detuning measurements in microresonator frequency combs,” Nat. Commun. 6, 5668 (2015).

I. S. Grudinin and N. Yu, “Towards efficient octave-spanning comb with micro-structured crystalline resonator,” Proc. SPIE 9343, 93430F (2015).
[Crossref]

W. Liang, D. Eliyahu, V. Ilchenko, A. Savchenkov, A. Matsko, D. Seidel, and L. Maleki, “High spectral purity Kerr frequency comb radio frequency photonic oscillator,” Nat. Commun. 6, 7957 (2015).

W. Loh, A. A. Green, F. N. Baynes, D. C. Cole, F. J. Quinlan, H. Lee, K. J. Vahala, S. B. Papp, and S. A. Diddams, “Dual-microcavity narrow-linewidth Brillouin laser,” Optica 2, 225–232 (2015).
[Crossref]

J. D. Jost, T. Herr, C. Lecaplain, V. Brasch, M. H. P. Pfeiffer, and T. J. Kippenberg, “Counting the cycles of light using a self-referenced optical microresonator,” Optica 2, 706–711 (2015).

2014 (9)

D. Y. Oh, D. Sell, H. Lee, K. Y. Yang, S. A. Diddams, and K. J. Vahala, “Supercontinuum generation in an on-chip silica waveguide,” Opt. Lett. 39, 1046–1048 (2014).
[Crossref]

S. Wang, H. Guo, X. Bai, and X. Zeng, “Broadband Kerr frequency combs and intracavity soliton dynamics influenced by high-order cavity dispersion,” Opt. Lett. 39, 2880–2883 (2014).
[Crossref]

S. B. Papp, K. Beha, P. Del’Haye, F. Quinlan, H. Lee, K. J. Vahala, and S. A. Diddams, “Microresonator frequency comb optical clock,” Optica 1, 10–14 (2014).
[Crossref]

C. Bao, L. Zhang, A. Matsko, Y. Yan, Z. Zhao, G. Xie, A. M. Agarwal, L. C. Kimerling, J. Michel, L. Maleki, and A. E. Willner, “Nonlinear conversion efficiency in Kerr frequency comb generation,” Opt. Lett. 39, 6126–6129 (2014).
[Crossref]

J. Pfeifle, V. Brasch, M. Lauermann, Y. Yu, D. Wegner, T. Herr, K. Hartinger, P. Schindler, J. Li, D. Hillerkuss, R. Schmogrow, C. Weimann, R. Holzwarth, W. Freude, J. Leuthold, T. Kippenberg, and C. Koos, “Coherent terabit communications with microresonator Kerr frequency combs,” Nat. Photonics 8, 375–380 (2014).
[Crossref]

T. Herr, V. Brasch, J. Jost, C. Wang, N. Kondratiev, M. Gorodetsky, and T. Kippenberg, “Temporal solitons in optical microresonators,” Nat. Photonics 8, 145–152 (2014).
[Crossref]

T. Herr, V. Brasch, J. Jost, I. Mirgorodskiy, G. Lihachev, M. Gorodetsky, and T. Kippenberg, “Mode spectrum and temporal soliton formation in optical microresonators,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 113, 123901 (2014).
[Crossref]

P. Del’Haye, K. Beha, S. B. Papp, and S. A. Diddams, “Self-injection locking and phase-locked states in microresonator-based optical frequency combs,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 112, 043905 (2014).
[Crossref]

B. Hausmann, I. Bulu, V. Venkataraman, P. Deotare, and M. Lončar, “Diamond nonlinear photonics,” Nat. Photonics 8, 369–374 (2014).
[Crossref]

2013 (6)

2012 (5)

J. Li, H. Lee, T. Chen, and K. J. Vahala, “Characterization of a high coherence, Brillouin microcavity laser on silicon,” Opt. Express 20, 20170–20180 (2012).
[Crossref]

J. Li, H. Lee, K. Y. Yang, and K. J. Vahala, “Sideband spectroscopy and dispersion measurement in microcavities,” Opt. Express 20, 26337–26344 (2012).
[Crossref]

T. Herr, K. Hartinger, J. Riemensberger, C. Wang, E. Gavartin, R. Holzwarth, M. Gorodetsky, and T. Kippenberg, “Universal formation dynamics and noise of Kerr-frequency combs in microresonators,” Nat. Photonics 6, 480–487 (2012).
[Crossref]

H. Lee, T. Chen, J. Li, K. Y. Yang, S. Jeon, O. Painter, and K. J. Vahala, “Chemically etched ultrahigh-Q wedge-resonator on a silicon chip,” Nat. Photonics 6, 369–373 (2012).
[Crossref]

J. Li, H. Lee, T. Chen, and K. J. Vahala, “Low-pump-power, low-phase-noise, and microwave to millimeter-wave repetition rate operation in microcombs,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 109, 233901 (2012).
[Crossref]

2011 (6)

F. Ferdous, H. Miao, D. E. Leaird, K. Srinivasan, J. Wang, L. Chen, L. T. Varghese, and A. M. Weiner, “Spectral line-by-line pulse shaping of on-chip microresonator frequency combs,” Nat. Photonics 5, 770–776 (2011).
[Crossref]

T. J. Kippenberg, R. Holzwarth, and S. Diddams, “Microresonator-based optical frequency combs,” Science 332, 555–559 (2011).
[Crossref]

S. B. Papp and S. A. Diddams, “Spectral and temporal characterization of a fused-quartz-microresonator optical frequency comb,” Phys. Rev. A 84, 053833 (2011).
[Crossref]

N. R. Newbury, “Searching for applications with a fine-tooth comb,” Nat. Photonics 5, 186–188 (2011).
[Crossref]

T. Fortier, M. Kirchner, F. Quinlan, J. Taylor, J. Bergquist, T. Rosenband, N. Lemke, A. Ludlow, Y. Jiang, C. Oates, and S. Diddams, “Generation of ultrastable microwaves via optical frequency division,” Nat. Photonics 5, 425–429 (2011).
[Crossref]

A. Matsko, A. Savchenkov, W. Liang, V. Ilchenko, D. Seidel, and L. Maleki, “Mode-locked Kerr frequency combs,” Opt. Lett. 36, 2845–2847 (2011).
[Crossref]

2010 (3)

J. S. Levy, A. Gondarenko, M. A. Foster, A. C. Turner-Foster, A. L. Gaeta, and M. Lipson, “CMOS-compatible multiple-wavelength oscillator for on-chip optical interconnects,” Nat. Photonics 4, 37–40 (2010).
[Crossref]

L. Razzari, D. Duchesne, M. Ferrera, R. Morandotti, S. Chu, B. Little, and D. Moss, “CMOS-compatible integrated optical hyper-parametric oscillator,” Nat. Photonics 4, 41–45 (2010).
[Crossref]

F. Leo, S. Coen, P. Kockaert, S.-P. Gorza, P. Emplit, and M. Haelterman, “Temporal cavity solitons in one-dimensional Kerr media as bits in an all-optical buffer,” Nat. Photonics 4, 471–476 (2010).
[Crossref]

2009 (1)

2008 (3)

A. A. Savchenkov, A. B. Matsko, V. S. Ilchenko, I. Solomatine, D. Seidel, and L. Maleki, “Tunable optical frequency comb with a crystalline whispering gallery mode resonator,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 101, 093902 (2008).
[Crossref]

T. Steinmetz, T. Wilken, C. Araujo-Hauck, R. Holzwarth, T. W. Hänsch, L. Pasquini, A. Manescau, S. D’Odorico, M. T. Murphy, T. Kentischer, W. Schmidt, and T. Udem, “Laser frequency combs for astronomical observations,” Science 321, 1335–1337 (2008).
[Crossref]

C.-H. Li, A. J. Benedick, P. Fendel, A. G. Glenday, F. X. Kärtner, D. F. Phillips, D. Sasselov, A. Szentgyorgyi, and R. L. Walsworth, “A laser frequency comb that enables radial velocity measurements with a precision of 1  cm s-1,” Nature 452, 610–612 (2008).
[Crossref]

2007 (1)

P. Del’Haye, A. Schliesser, O. Arcizet, T. Wilken, R. Holzwarth, and T. Kippenberg, “Optical frequency comb generation from a monolithic microresonator,” Nature 450, 1214–1217 (2007).
[Crossref]

2004 (4)

S. Diddams, J. Bergquist, S. Jefferts, and C. Oates, “Standards of time and frequency at the outset of the 21st century,” Science 306, 1318–1324 (2004).
[Crossref]

T. Kippenberg, S. Spillane, and K. Vahala, “Kerr-nonlinearity optical parametric oscillation in an ultrahigh-Q toroid microcavity,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 93, 083904 (2004).
[Crossref]

A. A. Savchenkov, A. B. Matsko, D. Strekalov, M. Mohageg, V. S. Ilchenko, and L. Maleki, “Low threshold optical oscillations in a whispering gallery mode CaF2 resonator,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 93, 243905 (2004).
[Crossref]

T. Carmon, L. Yang, and K. Vahala, “Dynamical thermal behavior and thermal self-stability of microcavities,” Opt. Express 12, 4742–4750 (2004).
[Crossref]

2002 (1)

T. Udem, R. Holzwarth, and T. W. Hänsch, “Optical frequency metrology,” Nature 416, 233–237 (2002).
[Crossref]

2001 (1)

S. Diddams, T. Udem, J. Bergquist, E. Curtis, R. Drullinger, L. Hollberg, W. Itano, W. Lee, C. Oates, K. Vogel, and D. Wineland, “An optical clock based on a single trapped 199Hg+ ion,” Science 293, 825–828 (2001).
[Crossref]

2000 (2)

D. J. Jones, S. A. Diddams, J. K. Ranka, A. Stentz, R. S. Windeler, J. L. Hall, and S. T. Cundiff, “Carrier-envelope phase control of femtosecond mode-locked lasers and direct optical frequency synthesis,” Science 288, 635–639 (2000).
[Crossref]

R. Holzwarth, Th. Udem, T. W. Hänsch, J. Knight, W. Wadsworth, and P. St. J. Russell, “Optical frequency synthesizer for precision spectroscopy,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 85, 2264–2267 (2000).
[Crossref]

1999 (1)

1993 (1)

1987 (1)

L. A. Lugiato and R. Lefever, “Spatial dissipative structures in passive optical systems,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 58, 2209–2211 (1987).
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Agarwal, A. M.

Agrawal, G. P.

G. P. Agrawal, Nonlinear Fiber Optics (Academic, 2007).

Akhmediev, N.

A. Ankiewicz and N. Akhmediev, Dissipative Solitons: From Optics to Biology and Medicine (Springer, 2008).

Ankiewicz, A.

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Figures (5)

Fig. 1.
Fig. 1.

Experimental setup, soliton mode family dispersion, optical spectrum, and autocorrelation. (a) Experimental setup. A continuous-wave fiber laser is amplified by an EDFA. The laser frequency is separately monitored using a fiber Mach–Zhender interferometer (not shown). To implement the two-step protocol, the laser is modulated by an acousto-optic modulator (AOM). The laser is coupled to a high- Q wedge resonator using a fiber taper. The power transmission and microwave beatnote are detected by photo detectors (PD) and sent to an oscilloscope and electrical spectrum analyzer (ESA). The soliton optical spectra are measured using an optical spectrum analyzer (OSA). Dispersion compensation (not shown) is employed before the solitons are amplified for autocorrelation and the FROG measurement. Polarization controllers, optical isolators, and optical Bragg-grating filters are not shown. (b) Measured frequency dispersion (blue points) belonging to the soliton-forming mode family is plotted versus the relative mode number, μ . To construct this plot, the mode frequency relative to a μ = 0 mode (mode to be pumped) is measured using a calibrated Mach–Zehnder interferometer (fiber optic-based). To second order in the mode number, the mode frequency is given by the Taylor expansion, ω μ = ω 0 + μ D 1 + 1 2 μ 2 D 2 , and the dashed red curve is a fit using D 1 / 2 π = 21.92 GHz and D 2 / 2 π = 17 kHz . In the plot, the mode frequencies are offset by the linear term in the Taylor expansion to make clear the second-order group dispersion. The measured modes span wavelengths from 1520 to 1580 nm, and μ = 0 corresponds to a wavelength close to 1550 nm. The presence of nonsoliton-forming mode families can be seen through the appearance of avoided mode crossings (spur-like features) that perturb the parabolic shape. Simulations of the nonsoliton mode families believed to be responsible for these spurs are provided (see mode 1 and mode 2 dashed curves). In addition, the normalized transverse intensity profiles for the soliton and nonsoliton spatial modes are provided at the top of the panel (red indicates higher mode intensity). The simulation used the Sellmeier equation for the refractive index of silica. The oxide thickness, wedge angle, and radius were finely adjusted to produce the indicated fits. (c) The optical spectrum of a single soliton state is shown with a sech 2 envelope (red dashed line) superimposed for comparison. The pump laser is suppressed by 20 dB with an optical Bragg-grating filter. (d) FROG (upper) and autocorrelation trace (lower) of the soliton state in (c). The optical pulse period is 46 ps and the fitted pulse width is 250 fs (red solid line).

Fig. 2.
Fig. 2.

Detected phase noise and electrical spectra for three devices with corresponding mode dispersion and soliton data. (a) Phase noise spectral density function plotted versus offset frequency from the detected soliton repetition frequency of three different devices. A Rohde & Schwarz phase noise analyzer was used in the measurement. Inset shows the electrical spectrum of the soliton repetition frequency (21.92 GHz) for one device. The other devices had similar spectra, with repetition frequencies of 22.01 and 21.92 GHz. The phase noise of the fiber pump laser is shown in green and was generated by mixing two nominally identical pump lasers to create a 2.7 GHz electrical beatnote. Several features in the pump laser phase noise are reproduced in the soliton phase noise (see features near and above 20 kHz). The black line connecting the square dots is the measurement floor of the phase noise analyzer. (b),(c) The mode dispersion spectra and soliton optical spectra are presented for two of the devices measured in (a). The third device in (a) is from Fig. 1. (d) Pump power transmission is plotted versus tuning across a resonance used to generate the soliton spectra in (c). The data show the formation of steps as the pump tunes red relative to the resonance. Both the blue-detuned and the red-detuned operation of the pump relative to the resonance are inferred from generation of an error signal using a Pound–Drever–Hall system-operated open loop.

Fig. 3.
Fig. 3.

Control of soliton properties. (a) Measured soliton comb output power is plotted versus measured soliton pulse width (red points) with comparison to Eq. (4) (dashed red line). The measured power per central comb line is plotted versus pulse width (blue points) with comparison to Eq. (5) (dashed blue line). (b) The observed soliton spectra at the limits of the measurement in Fig. 3(a) are shown [see arrows A and B in Fig. 3(a)]. Solid orange and green curves are simulations using the Lugiato–Lefever equation, which includes Raman terms. The indicated wavelength shifts between the pump and the centroid of the soliton spectrum result from Raman interactions with the soliton. The location of the pump line for both spectra is indicated by the dashed black line and has been suppressed by filtering. The inset shows a magnified view near the central region of the blue spectrum. The green (purple) envelope provides the Lugiato–Lefever simulation with (without) Raman terms. The green spike is the location of the pump. (c) The measured minimum pump power for soliton existence is plotted versus the measured soliton pulse width (red points) with comparison to Eq. (6) (dashed red line). The measured efficiency is plotted versus the measured soliton pulse width (blue points) with comparison to Eq. (7) (dashed blue line). The simulation using the Lugiato-Lefever equation including Raman terms improves the agreement with data (small dashed red and blue lines).

Fig. 4.
Fig. 4.

Continuous soliton measurement over 19 h. (a) The soliton power and central comb line power are plotted versus time in hours. The soliton power experiences a slow drift to lower values, which is attributed to a slow variation in either the power set point of the electronic control or in the detected power (perhaps due to temperature drift). The central comb line power is approximately constant over the measured period, with the exception of a small step increase around 6 h. This could be associated with anything that increases the resonator coupling efficiency, decreases the resonator Q , or both. Since the resonator is taper coupled, any kind of mechanical shock could introduce such a step change in these quantities. (b) Pulse width and Raman self-shift (defined as the wavelength center of the soliton spectrum less the pump wavelength) are plotted versus time in hours. A step in these quantities is recorded at the identical moment to that recorded for the central comb line power. It is interesting to note that because the soliton power is feedback controlled, from Eq. (2), a step increase (decrease) in coupling η ( Q ) would be accompanied by a compensating decrease in pump detuning. From Eq. (3), this feedback-controlled step in detuning would cause an increase in the soliton pulse width (and decrease in the Raman shift), as observed in the recorded data of panel b. Finally, the operation of the soliton comb proceeded for an additional 5 h beyond the record presented in this figure. During the additional 5 h, other measurements were performed that required disabling the data recording.

Fig. 5.
Fig. 5.

Required pumping power and maximum power per comb line. Linear contours give the minimum pump power required for existence of 200 fs solitons assuming the silica resonator of this work with the indicated Q -factor and repetition frequency (note that scales change for other material systems). These are derived using Eq. (6). Coloration indicates the maximum power per comb line given by Eq. (5). The upper horizontal axis is the efficiency found using Eq. (7). This axis does not depend on the material. η = 0.7 is assumed in making the plot.

Equations (7)

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P th = π n ω o A eff 4 η n 2 1 D 1 Q 2 ,
P sol = 2 η A eff n 2 Q 2 n c β 2 δ ω ,
τ = c β 2 2 n δ ω ,
P sol = 2 c η A eff β 2 n 2 Q 1 τ ,
P ( Δ ω ) = π c 2 η A eff β 2 n 2 D 1 Q sech 2 ( π τ 2 Δ ω ) ,
P in min = 2 c π A eff β 2 η n 2 τ 2 1 Q D 1 .
Γ π η 2 D 1 τ .

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