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Nonlinear Optics in Planar Silica-on-Silicon Disk Resonators


Li, Jiang (2013) Nonlinear Optics in Planar Silica-on-Silicon Disk Resonators. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/20G7-EM85.


Optical frequency combs (OFCs) provide direct phase-coherent link between optical and RF frequencies, and enable precision measurement of optical frequencies. In recent years, a new class of frequency combs (microcombs) have emerged based on parametric frequency conversions in dielectric microresonators. Micocombs have large line spacing from 10's to 100's GHz, allowing easy access to individual comb lines for arbitrary waveform synthesis. They also provide broadband parametric gain bandwidth, not limited by specific atomic or molecular transitions in conventional OFCs. The emerging applications of microcombs include low noise microwave generation, astronomical spectrograph calibration, direct comb spectroscopy, and high capacity telecommunications.

In this thesis, research is presented starting with the introduction of a new type of chemically etched, planar silica-on-silicon disk resonator. A record Q factor of 875 million is achieved for on-chip devices. A simple and accurate approach to characterize the FSR and dispersion of microcavities is demonstrated. Microresonator-based frequency combs (microcombs) are demonstrated with microwave repetition rate less than 80 GHz on a chip for the first time. Overall low threshold power (as low as 1 mW) of microcombs across a wide range of resonator FSRs from 2.6 to 220 GHz in surface-loss-limited disk resonators is demonstrated. The rich and complex dynamics of microcomb RF noise are studied. High-coherence, RF phase-locking of microcombs is demonstrated where injection locking of the subcomb offset frequencies are observed by pump-detuning-alignment. Moreover, temporal mode locking, featuring subpicosecond pulses from a parametric 22 GHz microcomb, is observed. We further demonstrated a shot-noise-limited white phase noise of microcomb for the first time. Finally, stabilization of the microcomb repetition rate is realized by phase lock loop control.

For another major nonlinear optical application of disk resonators, highly coherent, simulated Brillouin lasers (SBL) on silicon are also demonstrated, with record low Schawlow-Townes noise less than 0.1 Hz^2/Hz for any chip-based lasers and low technical noise comparable to commercial narrow-linewidth fiber lasers. The SBL devices are efficient, featuring more than 90% quantum efficiency and threshold as low as 60 microwatts. Moreover, novel properties of the SBL are studied, including cascaded operation, threshold tuning, and mode-pulling phenomena. Furthermore, high performance microwave generation using on-chip cascaded Brillouin oscillation is demonstrated. It is also robust enough to enable incorporation as the optical voltage-controlled-oscillator in the first demonstration of a photonic-based, microwave frequency synthesizer. Finally, applications of microresonators as frequency reference cavities and low-phase-noise optomechanical oscillators are presented.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:nonlinear optics, frequency combs, microcombs, stimulated Brillouin scattering, microresonators, microwave photonics
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Applied Physics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Vahala, Kerry J.
Group:Institute for Quantum Information and Matter
Thesis Committee:
  • Vahala, Kerry J. (chair)
  • Painter, Oskar J.
  • Atwater, Harry Albert
  • Schwab, Keith C.
Defense Date:20 May 2013
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:05312013-151745220
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:7799
Deposited By: Jiang Li
Deposited On:03 Jun 2013 22:10
Last Modified:02 Jun 2020 21:55

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