Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

The .gov means it’s official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.

Https

The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

An Integrated-Photonics Optical-Frequency Synthesizer

Published

Author(s)

Daryl T. Spencer, Tara E. Drake, Travis Briles, Jordan R. Stone, Laura C. Sinclair, Connor D. Fredrick, Qing Li, Daron A. Westly, Bojan R. Ilic, Aaron Bluestone, Nicolas Volet, Tin Komljenovic, Seung Hoon Lee, Dong Yoon Oh, Myoung-Gyun Suh, Ki Youl Yang, Martin H. Pfeiffer, Tobias J. Kippenberg, Erik Norberg, Kerry Vahala, Kartik A. Srinivasan, Nathan R. Newbury, Luke Theogarajan, John E. Bowers, Scott A. Diddams, Scott B. Papp

Abstract

Integrated-photonics microchips now enable a range of advanced functionalities for high- coherence applications like data transmission, for highly optimized physical sensors, and for harnessing quantum states, but with size, extensibility, and portability much beyond tabletop experiments. Through high-volume semiconductor processing built around advanced materials there exists an opportunity to develop devices with enhanced performance to impact applications cutting across disciplines of basic science and technology. Here we show how to synthesize the absolute frequency of a lightwave signal, using integrated photonics to implement lasers, system interconnects, and nonlinear frequency-comb generation. The laser frequency output of our synthesizer is programmed deterministically by a microwave clock across 4 THz near 1550 nm with 1 Hz resolution and traceability to the SI second. This is accomplished with a heterogeneously integrated III/V-Si tunable laser, which is guided by dual dissipative-Kerr- soliton frequency combs fabricated on silicon chips. Through out-of-loop measurements of the phase-coherent, microwave-to-optical link, we verify the fractional-frequency imprecision of the integrated-photonics synthesizer to be 7.0×10^-13^ for a 1 second acquisition and unambiguously constrain any synthesis error at 3.0×10^-15^ on the 195 THz output carrier. Precision optical synthesis, which builds on the ubiquitous capability in the microwave domain, is enabling for measurement of quantum systems and clock metrology, laser range finding, microwave photonics, and coherent data transmission. Our results demonstrate a first path to optical synthesis with integrated photonics, leveraging the low-cost, low-power and compact integrated features of this platform that will be critical for the widespread use and expansion of these many capabilities.
Citation
Nature

Keywords

frequency combs, integrated optics, nonlinear optics
Created May 3, 2018, Updated February 21, 2019