Optical Frequency Combs Based On Dissipative Kerr Solitons

Researchers have demonstrated that chip-based optical frequency combs with sufficient output power for optical atomic clocks and other practical applications may be made using dissipative Kerr solitons (DKSs). The development could result in equipment built on chips that can do precise tests previously only achievable in a few specialist labs.

In metrology, frequency combs are often used to measure optical frequency with high accuracy. Making them on a chip enables them to significantly lower their power usage while weakening each comb tooth’s strength. As a result, connecting on-chip combs to other systems like atomic frequency standards is challenging. Researchers demonstrate how the comb device can be tuned so that the power of numerous comb tooth is optimized by more than an order of magnitude by carefully inserting a second weak laser into the device.

Recent work has focused on developing optical frequency combs utilizing tiny, chip-scale microresonators based on DKSs instead of conventional optical frequency combs produced using mode-locked lasers that are often restricted to high-end scientific institutions. DKSs are light packets that depend on a dual balance of gain and dissipation as well as nonlinearity and dispersion. DKS-based combs provide insufficient output power despite having very low energy consumption.

In their latest study, the researchers use the newly suggested Kerr-induced synchronization of Kerr solitons to an external stable laser reference to create optical frequency combs with increased power. As a result, there is a noticeable increase in power on the reference laser’s opposite side of the comb spectrum.

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