Imaging soliton dynamics in optical microcavities


Xu Yi, Qi-Fan Yang, Ki Youl Yang, and Kerry Vahala. 2018. “Imaging soliton dynamics in optical microcavities.” Nature Communications, 9, 1, Pp. 3565. Publisher's Version


Solitons are self-sustained wavepackets that occur in many physical systems. Their recent demonstration in optical microresonators has provided a new platform for the study of nonlinear optical physics with practical implications for miniaturization of time standards, spectroscopy tools, and frequency metrology systems. However, despite its importance to the understanding of soliton physics, as well as development of new applications, imaging the rich dynamical behavior of solitons in microcavities has not been possible. These phenomena require a difficult combination of high-temporal-resolution and long-record-length in order to capture the evolving trajectories of closely spaced microcavity solitons. Here, an imaging method is demonstrated that visualizes soliton motion with sub-picosecond resolution over arbitrary time spans. A wide range of complex soliton transient behavior are characterized in the temporal or spectral domain, including soliton formation, collisions, spectral breathing, and soliton decay. This method can serve as a visualization tool for developing new soliton applications and understanding complex soliton physics in microcavities.
Last updated on 07/30/2022