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Photonic chip–based optical frequency comb using soliton Cherenkov radiation

Science  31 Dec 2015:

DOI: 10.1126/science.aad4811

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Abstract

Optical solitons are propagating pulses of light that retain their shape due to a balance of nonlinearity and dispersion. In the presence of higher order dispersion optical solitons can emit dispersive waves via the process of soliton Cherenkov radiation. This process underlies supercontinuum generation and is of critical importance in frequency metrology. Using a continuous wave pumped, dispersion engineered, integrated silicon nitride microresonator we generate continuously circulating temporal dissipative Kerr solitons. The presence of higher order dispersion leads to the emission of red-shifted soliton Cherenkov radiation. The output corresponds to a fully coherent optical frequency comb that spans 2/3 of an octave, which we phase-stabilize to the sub-Hertz level. By preserving coherence over a broad spectral bandwidth our device offers the opportunity to develop compact on-chip frequency combs for frequency metrology or spectroscopy.

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