An optical-frequency synthesizer using integrated photonics
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An optical-frequency synthesizer using integrated photonics

  • Author(s): Spencer, Daryl T
  • Drake, Tara
  • Briles, Travis C
  • Stone, Jordan
  • Sinclair, Laura C
  • Fredrick, Connor
  • Li, Qing
  • Westly, Daron
  • Ilic, B Robert
  • Bluestone, Aaron
  • Volet, Nicolas
  • Komljenovic, Tin
  • Chang, Lin
  • Lee, Seung Hoon
  • Oh, Dong Yoon
  • Suh, Myoung-Gyun
  • Yang, Ki Youl
  • Pfeiffer, Martin HP
  • Kippenberg, Tobias J
  • Norberg, Erik
  • Theogarajan, Luke
  • Vahala, Kerry
  • Newbury, Nathan R
  • Srinivasan, Kartik
  • Bowers, John E
  • Diddams, Scott A
  • Papp, Scott B
  • et al.

Integrated-photonics microchips now enable a range of advanced functionalities for high-coherence applications such as data transmission, highly optimized physical sensors, and harnessing quantum states, but with cost, efficiency, and portability much beyond tabletop experiments. Through high-volume semiconductor processing built around advanced materials there exists an opportunity for integrated devices to impact applications cutting across disciplines of basic science and technology. Here we show how to synthesize the absolute frequency of a lightwave signal, using integrated photonics to implement lasers, system interconnects, and nonlinear frequency comb generation. The laser frequency output of our synthesizer is programmed by a microwave clock across 4 THz near 1550 nm with 1 Hz resolution and traceability to the SI second. This is accomplished with a heterogeneously integrated III/V-Si tunable laser, which is guided by dual dissipative-Kerr-soliton frequency combs fabricated on silicon chips. Through out-of-loop measurements of the phase-coherent, microwave-to-optical link, we verify that the fractional-frequency instability of the integrated photonics synthesizer matches the $7.0*10^{-13}$ reference-clock instability for a 1 second acquisition, and constrain any synthesis error to $7.7*10^{-15}$ while stepping the synthesizer across the telecommunication C band. Any application of an optical frequency source would be enabled by the precision optical synthesis presented here. Building on the ubiquitous capability in the microwave domain, our results demonstrate a first path to synthesis with integrated photonics, leveraging low-cost, low-power, and compact features that will be critical for its widespread use.

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