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Laser-power consumption of soliton formation in a bidirectional Kerr resonator



Jizhao Zang, Su-Peng Yu, Haixin Liu, Yan Jin, Travis Briles, David Carlson, Scott Papp


Laser sources power extreme data transmission as well as computing acceleration, access to ultrahigh-speed signaling, and sensing for chemicals, distance, and pattern recognition. The ever-growing scale of these applications drives innovation in multi-wavelength lasers for massively parallel processing. We report a nanophotonic Kerr-resonator circuit that consumes the power of an input laser and generates a soliton frequency comb at approaching unit efficiency. By coupling forward and backward propagation, we create a bidirectional Kerr resonator that supports universal phase matching but also opens excess loss by double-sided emission. Therefore, we induce reflection of the resonator's forward, external-coupling port to favor backward propagation, resulting in efficient, one-sided soliton formation. Coherent backscattering with nanophotonics provides the control to put arbitrary phase-matching and efficient laser-power consumption on equal footing in Kerr resonators. In the overcoupled-resonator regime, we measure 65% conversion efficiency of a 40 mW input pump laser, and the nonlinear circuit consumes 97% of the pump, generating the maximum possible comb power. Our work opens up high-efficiency soliton formation in integrated photonics, exploring how energy flows in nonlinear circuits and enabling laser sources for advanced transmission, computing, quantum sensing, and artificial intelligence applications.


Microresonator, soliton microcomb, conversion efficiency, photonic crystal resonator


Zang, J. , Yu, S. , Liu, H. , Jin, Y. , Briles, T. , Carlson, D. and Papp, S. (2024), Laser-power consumption of soliton formation in a bidirectional Kerr resonator, Science, [online], (Accessed April 19, 2024)
Created January 30, 2024, Updated March 25, 2024