Soliton frequency comb at microwave rates in a high-Q silica microresonator


Xu Yi, Qi-Fan Yang, Ki Youl Yang, Myoung-Gyun Suh, and Kerry Vahala. 2015. “Soliton frequency comb at microwave rates in a high-Q silica microresonator.” Optica, 2, 12, Pp. 1078–1085.


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&\#x2014;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.