skip to main content

Title: Dissipative soliton generation and real-time dynamics in microresonator-filtered fiber lasers

Optical frequency combs in microresonators (microcombs) have a wide range of applications in science and technology, due to its compact size and access to considerably larger comb spacing. Despite recent successes, the problems of self-starting, high mode efficiency as well as high output power have not been fully addressed for conventional soliton microcombs. Recent demonstration of laser cavity soliton microcombs by nesting a microresonator into a fiber cavity, shows great potential to solve the problems. Here we study the dissipative soliton generation and interaction dynamics in a microresonator-filtered fiber laser in both theory and experiment. We bring theoretical insight into the mode-locking principle, discuss the parameters effect on soliton properties, and provide experimental guidelines for broadband soliton generation. We predict chirped bright dissipative soliton with flat-top spectral envelope in microresonators with normal dispersion, which is fundamentally forbidden for the externally driven case. Furthermore, we experimentally achieve soliton microcombs with large bandwidth of ~10 nm and high mode efficiency of 90.7%. Finally, by taking advantage of an ultrahigh-speed time magnifier, we study the real-time soliton formation and interaction dynamics and experimentally observe soliton Newton’s cradle. Our study will benefit the design of the novel, high-efficiency and self-starting microcombs for real-world applications.

more » « less
Award ID(s):
2048202 2016244
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Publisher / Repository:
Nature Publishing Group
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Light: Science & Applications
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    Femtosecond mode-locked laser frequency combs have served as the cornerstone in precision spectroscopy, all-optical atomic clocks, and measurements of ultrafast dynamics. Recently frequency microcombs based on nonlinear microresonators have been examined, exhibiting remarkable precision approaching that of laser frequency combs, on a solid-state chip-scale platform and from a fundamentally different physical origin. Despite recent successes, to date, the real-time dynamical origins and high-power stabilities of such frequency microcombs have not been fully addressed. Here, we unravel the transitional dynamics of frequency microcombs from chaotic background routes to femtosecond mode-locking in real time, enabled by our ultrafast temporal magnifier metrology and improved stability of dispersion-managed dissipative solitons. Through our dispersion-managed oscillator, we further report a stability zone that is more than an order-of-magnitude larger than its prior static homogeneous counterparts, providing a novel platform for understanding ultrafast dissipative dynamics and offering a new path towards high-power frequency microcombs.

    more » « less
  2. Microresonator frequency combs and their design versatility have revolutionized research areas from data communication to exoplanet searches. While microcombs in the 1550 nm band are well documented, there is interest in using microcombs in other bands. Here, we demonstrate the formation and spectral control of normal-dispersion dark soliton microcombs at 1064 nm. We generate 200 GHz repetition rate microcombs by inducing a photonic bandgap of the microresonator mode for the pump laser with a photonic crystal. We perform the experiments with normal-dispersion microresonators made from Ta2O5 and explore unique soliton pulse shapes and operating behaviors. By adjusting the resonator dispersion through its nanostructured geometry, we demonstrate control over the spectral bandwidth of these combs, and we employ numerical modeling to understand their existence range. Our results highlight how photonic design enables microcomb spectra tailoring across wide wavelength ranges, offering potential in bioimaging, spectroscopy, and photonic-atomic quantum technologies.

    more » « less
  3. Various dissipative soliton solutions exist in the parameter space of mode-locked fiber lasers, including both coherent and incoherent pulses. Novel ultrafast laser designs can lead to distinctive dissipative soliton solutions formed by unique pulse shaping dynamics in the same cavity. However, transitionary states in between steady-state mode-locked regimes remain largely unexplored. Here, we investigate the intermediate transition dynamics in a versatile Tm-doped fiber laser capable of emitting both dissipative solitons with anomalous-dispersion and normal-dispersion pulse-shaping mechanisms by adjusting an intracavity polarization controller. Real-time pulse dynamics during mode-locking transitions are analyzed with a modified dispersive Fourier transform setup, illustrating characteristic pulse shaping mechanisms typically reserved for different dispersion regimes. Combined with a spectral intensity correlation analysis, the coherence evolution between two distinct mode-locked states is fully resolved for the first time.

    more » « less
  4. Optical frequency combs, which consist of precisely controlled spectral lines covering a wide range, have played a crucial role in enabling numerous scientific advancements. Beyond the conventional approach that relies on mode-locked lasers, microcombs generated from microresonators pumped at a single frequency have arguably given rise to a new field within cavity nonlinear photonics, which has led to a robust exchange of ideas and research between theoretical, experimental, and technological aspects. Microcombs are extremely attractive in applications requiring a compact footprint, low cost, good energy efficiency, large comb spacing, and access to nonconventional spectral regions. The recently arising microcombs based on fiber Fabry–Pérot microresonators provide unique opportunities for ultralow noise and high-dimensional nonlinear optics. In this review, we comprehensively examine the recent progress of fiber Kerr microcombs and discuss how various phenomena in fibers can be utilized to enhance the microcomb performances that benefit a plethora of applications.

    more » « less
  5. Temporal soliton mode locking in coherently pumped microcavities is a promising route towards miniaturized frequency comb systems. However, the power efficiency of the resulting microcombs is usually quite low. Soliton generation by pulse pumping provides a way to increase conversion efficiency (so far, as high as 8%). Here, we study conversion efficiency and report a single-soliton conversion efficiency as high as 54% using a scanning laser, as well as a steady-state single-soliton conversion efficiency as high as 34%. We use the Lagrangian approach to develop analytical expressions for efficiency and soliton temporal placement within the pumping pulse, and our measurements reveal features in the tuning dependence of soliton power and efficiency not seen in continuous pumping. Our experimentally confirmed expressions for efficiency will be useful in understanding advantages and limitations of pulse pumped systems.

    more » « less