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Harnessing dispersion in soliton microcombs to mitigate thermal noise



Jordan Stone, Scott Papp


We explore intrinsic thermal noise in soliton microcombs, revealing thermodynamic correlations induced by nonlinearity and group-velocity dispersion. A suitable dispersion design gives rise to control over thermal-noise transduction from the environment to a soliton microcomb. We present simulations with the Lugiato-Lefever equation (LLE), including temperature as a stochastic variable. By systematically tuning the dispersion, we suppress repetition-rate frequency fluctuations by up to $50$ decibels for different LLE soliton solutions. In an experiment, we observe a measurement-system-limited $15$-decibel reduction in the repetition- rate phase noise for various settings of the pump-laser frequency, and our measurements agree with a thermal-noise model. Finally, we compare two octave-spanning soliton microcombs with similar optical spectra and offset frequencies, but with designed differences in dispersion. Remarkably, their thermal-noise-limited carrier-envelope-offset frequency linewidths are 1 MHz and 100 Hz, which demonstrates an unprecedented potential to mitigate thermal noise. Our results guide future soliton-microcomb design for low-noise applications, and, more generally, they illuminate emergent properties of nonlinear, multi-mode optical systems subject to intrinsic fluctuations.
Physical Review Letters


frequency combs, photonics, thermal noise


Stone, J. and Papp, S. (2020), Harnessing dispersion in soliton microcombs to mitigate thermal noise, Physical Review Letters, [online], (Accessed July 15, 2024)


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Created October 5, 2020, Updated March 25, 2024