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Thermal Decoherence and Laser Cooling of Kerr-microresonator Solitons



Tara E. Drake, Jordan Stone, Travis Briles, Scott Papp


Thermal noise is ubiquitous in microscopic systems and high-precision measurements. The control of thermal noise would reveal quantum regimes1 and enable fundamental physics searches2 . Recently, nonlinearity in microresonators has enabled laser devices such as Kerr microresonator soliton frequency combs3 . Soliton microcombs explore nonlinear dynamics and enable optical synthesizers4, optical clockwork5 and data communications systems6. Here, we explore how thermal noise leads to the fundamental decoherence of microcombs. We show that a particle-like soliton, which is an ensemble of comb modes, is closely coupled to the thermal fluctuations of its silicon-chip-based resonator. The microcomb modal linewidth is thus thermally broadened, and we characterize these thermal-noise correlations through a soliton effective temperature. Moreover, we demonstrate that passive laser cooling reduces soliton thermal decoherence to far below the ambient-temperature limit. We implement laser cooling by photothermal forcing, and we observe cooling of the frequency comb modes to 84 K. Our work illuminates inherent connections between nonlinear photonics and microscopic fluctuations.


Kerr-microresonator, thermal effects


Drake, T. , Stone, J. , Briles, T. and Papp, S. (2020), Thermal Decoherence and Laser Cooling of Kerr-microresonator Solitons, Nature (Accessed June 17, 2024)


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Created June 22, 2020, Updated June 6, 2024