A Caltech Library Service

Nonlinear Optics and Wavelength Translation Via Cavity-Optomechanics


Hill, Jeffrey Thomas (2013) Nonlinear Optics and Wavelength Translation Via Cavity-Optomechanics. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/DKW6-TF64.


The field of cavity-optomechanics explores the interaction of light with sound in an ever increasing array of devices. This interaction allows the mechanical system to be both sensed and controlled by the optical system, opening up a wide variety of experiments including the cooling of the mechanical resonator to its quantum mechanical ground state and the squeezing of the optical field upon interaction with the mechanical resonator, to name two.

In this work we explore two very different systems with different types of optomechanical coupling. The first system consists of two microdisk optical resonators stacked on top of each other and separated by a very small slot. The interaction of the disks causes their optical resonance frequencies to be extremely sensitive to the gap between the disks. By careful control of the gap between the disks, the optomechanical coupling can be made to be quadratic to first order which is uncommon in optomechanical systems. With this quadratic coupling the light field is now sensitive to the energy of the mechanical resonator and can directly control the potential energy trapping the mechanical motion. This ability to directly control the spring constant without modifying the energy of the mechanical system, unlike in linear optomechanical coupling, is explored.

Next, the bulk of this thesis deals with a high mechanical frequency optomechanical crystal which is used to coherently convert photons between different frequencies. This is accomplished via the engineered linear optomechanical coupling in these devices. Both classical and quantum systems utilize the interaction of light and matter across a wide range of energies. These systems are often not naturally compatible with one another and require a means of converting photons of dissimilar wavelengths to combine and exploit their different strengths. Here we theoretically propose and experimentally demonstrate coherent wavelength conversion of optical photons using photon-phonon translation in a cavity-optomechanical system. For an engineered silicon optomechanical crystal nanocavity supporting a 4 GHz localized phonon mode, optical signals in a 1.5 MHz bandwidth are coherently converted over a 11.2 THz frequency span between one cavity mode at wavelength 1460 nm and a second cavity mode at 1545 nm with a 93% internal (2% external) peak efficiency. The thermal and quantum limiting noise involved in the conversion process is also analyzed and, in terms of an equivalent photon number signal level, are found to correspond to an internal noise level of only 6 and 4 times 10x^-3 quanta, respectively.

We begin by developing the requisite theoretical background to describe the system. A significant amount of time is then spent describing the fabrication of these silicon nanobeams, with an emphasis on understanding the specifics and motivation. The experimental demonstration of wavelength conversion is then described and analyzed. It is determined that the method of getting photons into the cavity and collected from the cavity is a fundamental limiting factor in the overall efficiency. Finally, a new coupling scheme is designed, fabricated, and tested that provides a means of coupling greater than 90% of photons into and out of the cavity, addressing one of the largest obstacles with the initial wavelength conversion experiment.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:optomechanics; photonics; optics; wavelength conversion; frequency conversion; quantum mechanics; nanomechanics
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Applied Physics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Painter, Oskar J.
Group:Institute for Quantum Information and Matter
Thesis Committee:
  • Painter, Oskar J. (chair)
  • Schwab, Keith C.
  • Vahala, Kerry J.
  • Refael, Gil
Defense Date:22 May 2013
Non-Caltech Author Email:jthill (AT)
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:05312013-144103500
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:7796
Deposited By: Jeffrey Hill
Deposited On:03 Jun 2013 22:13
Last Modified:02 Jun 2020 21:54

Thesis Files

PDF - Final Version
See Usage Policy.


Repository Staff Only: item control page