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Kerr-induced synchronization of a cavity soliton to an optical reference



Gregory Moille, Jordan Stone, Michal J. Chojnacky, Curtis Menyuk, Kartik Srinivasan


The phase-coherent frequency division of a stabilized optical reference laser to the microwave domain is made possible by optical-frequency combs (OFCs). OFC-based clockworks lock one comb tooth to a reference laser, which probes a stable atomic transition, usually through an active servo that increases the complexity of the OFC photonic and electronic integration for fieldable clock applications. Here, we demonstrate that the Kerr nonlinearity enables passive, electronics-free synchronization of a microresonator-based dissipative Kerr soliton (DKS) OFC to an externally injected reference laser. We present a theoretical model explaining this Kerr-induced synchronization (KIS), which closely matches experimental results based on a chip-integrated, silicon nitride, micro-ring resonator. Once synchronized, the reference laser captures an OFC tooth, so that tuning its frequency provides direct external control of the OFC repetition rate. We also show that the stability of the repetition rate is linked to that of the reference laser through the expected frequency division factor. Finally, KIS of an octave-spanning DKS exhibits enhancement of the opposite dispersive wave, consistent with the theoretical model, and enables improved self-referencing and access to the OFC carrier–envelope offset frequency. The KIS-mediated enhancements we demonstrate can be directly implemented in integrated optical clocks and chip-scale low-noise microwave generators.


Moille, G. , Stone, J. , Chojnacky, M. , Menyuk, C. and Srinivasan, K. (2023), Kerr-induced synchronization of a cavity soliton to an optical reference, Nature, [online],, (Accessed July 24, 2024)


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Created December 13, 2023, Updated December 15, 2023