skip to main content

Title: Mirror-induced reflection in the frequency domain

Mirrors are ubiquitous in optics and are used to control the propagation of optical signals in space. Here we propose and demonstrate frequency domain mirrors that provide reflections of the optical energy in a frequency synthetic dimension, using electro-optic modulation. First, we theoretically explore the concept of frequency mirrors with the investigation of propagation loss, and reflectivity in the frequency domain. Next, we explore the mirror formed through polarization mode-splitting in a thin-film lithium niobate micro-resonator. By exciting the Bloch waves of the synthetic frequency crystal with different wave vectors, we show various states formed by the interference between forward propagating and reflected waves. Finally, we expand on this idea, and generate tunable frequency mirrors as well as demonstrate trapped states formed by these mirrors using coupled lithium niobate micro-resonators. The ability to control the flow of light in the frequency domain could enable a wide range of applications, including the study of random walks, boson sampling, frequency comb sources, optical computation, and topological photonics. Furthermore, demonstration of optical elements such as cavities, lasers, and photonic crystals in the frequency domain, may be possible.

; ; ; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Nature Communications
Nature Publishing Group
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. BACKGROUND Electromagnetic (EM) waves underpin modern society in profound ways. They are used to carry information, enabling broadcast radio and television, mobile telecommunications, and ubiquitous access to data networks through Wi-Fi and form the backbone of our modern broadband internet through optical fibers. In fundamental physics, EM waves serve as an invaluable tool to probe objects from cosmic to atomic scales. For example, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory and atomic clocks, which are some of the most precise human-made instruments in the world, rely on EM waves to reach unprecedented accuracies. This has motivated decades of research to develop coherent EM sources over broad spectral ranges with impressive results: Frequencies in the range of tens of gigahertz (radio and microwave regimes) can readily be generated by electronic oscillators. Resonant tunneling diodes enable the generation of millimeter (mm) and terahertz (THz) waves, which span from tens of gigahertz to a few terahertz. At even higher frequencies, up to the petahertz level, which are usually defined as optical frequencies, coherent waves can be generated by solid-state and gas lasers. However, these approaches often suffer from narrow spectral bandwidths, because they usually rely on well-defined energy states of specific materials, which results inmore »a rather limited spectral coverage. To overcome this limitation, nonlinear frequency-mixing strategies have been developed. These approaches shift the complexity from the EM source to nonresonant-based material effects. Particularly in the optical regime, a wealth of materials exist that support effects that are suitable for frequency mixing. Over the past two decades, the idea of manipulating these materials to form guiding structures (waveguides) has provided improvements in efficiency, miniaturization, and production scale and cost and has been widely implemented for diverse applications. ADVANCES Lithium niobate, a crystal that was first grown in 1949, is a particularly attractive photonic material for frequency mixing because of its favorable material properties. Bulk lithium niobate crystals and weakly confining waveguides have been used for decades for accessing different parts of the EM spectrum, from gigahertz to petahertz frequencies. Now, this material is experiencing renewed interest owing to the commercial availability of thin-film lithium niobate (TFLN). This integrated photonic material platform enables tight mode confinement, which results in frequency-mixing efficiency improvements by orders of magnitude while at the same time offering additional degrees of freedom for engineering the optical properties by using approaches such as dispersion engineering. Importantly, the large refractive index contrast of TFLN enables, for the first time, the realization of lithium niobate–based photonic integrated circuits on a wafer scale. OUTLOOK The broad spectral coverage, ultralow power requirements, and flexibilities of lithium niobate photonics in EM wave generation provides a large toolset to explore new device functionalities. Furthermore, the adoption of lithium niobate–integrated photonics in foundries is a promising approach to miniaturize essential bench-top optical systems using wafer scale production. Heterogeneous integration of active materials with lithium niobate has the potential to create integrated photonic circuits with rich functionalities. Applications such as high-speed communications, scalable quantum computing, artificial intelligence and neuromorphic computing, and compact optical clocks for satellites and precision sensing are expected to particularly benefit from these advances and provide a wealth of opportunities for commercial exploration. Also, bulk crystals and weakly confining waveguides in lithium niobate are expected to keep playing a crucial role in the near future because of their advantages in high-power and loss-sensitive quantum optics applications. As such, lithium niobate photonics holds great promise for unlocking the EM spectrum and reshaping information technologies for our society in the future. Lithium niobate spectral coverage. The EM spectral range and processes for generating EM frequencies when using lithium niobate (LN) for frequency mixing. AO, acousto-optic; AOM, acousto-optic modulation; χ (2) , second-order nonlinearity; χ (3) , third-order nonlinearity; EO, electro-optic; EOM, electro-optic modulation; HHG, high-harmonic generation; IR, infrared; OFC, optical frequency comb; OPO, optical paramedic oscillator; OR, optical rectification; SCG, supercontinuum generation; SHG, second-harmonic generation; UV, ultraviolet.« less
  2. Optical isolators, reliably integrated on-chip, are crucial components for a wide range of optical systems and applications. We introduce a new class of wideband nonmagnetic and linear optical isolators based on nonlinear frequency conversion and spectral filtering among the pump, signal, and idler wavelengths. The scheme is experimentally demonstrated using difference-frequency generation in periodically poled thin-film lithium niobate integrated devices and short- and long-pass optical filters. We demonstrate a wide bandwidth of more than 150 nm, limited only by the measurement setup, and an optical isolation ratio of up to 18 dB for the involved idler and signal waves. The difference of transmittance at the signal wavelength between forward and backward propagation is 40 dB. We also discuss pathways for substantial isolation improvement using appropriate anti-reflection coatings. The integrable isolator, operating in the telecommunication band, is characterized by a perfectly linear output versus input power dependence and can be incorporated into high-speed telecom and datacom systems as well as a variety of other applications.

  3. Abstract

    Second-order nonlinear optical processes convert light from one wavelength to another and generate quantum entanglement. Creating chip-scale devices to efficiently control these interactions greatly increases the reach of photonics. Existing silicon-based photonic circuits utilize the third-order optical nonlinearity, but an analogous integrated platform for second-order nonlinear optics remains an outstanding challenge. Here we demonstrate efficient frequency doubling and parametric oscillation with a threshold of tens of micro-watts in an integrated thin-film lithium niobate photonic circuit. We achieve degenerate and non-degenerate operation of the parametric oscillator at room temperature and tune its emission over one terahertz by varying the pump frequency by hundreds of megahertz. Finally, we observe cascaded second-order processes that result in parametric oscillation. These resonant second-order nonlinear circuits will form a crucial part of the emerging nonlinear and quantum photonics platforms.

  4. Abstract

    Rare earth emitters enable critical quantum resources including spin qubits, single photon sources, and quantum memories. Yet, probing of single ions remains challenging due to low emission rate of their intra-4foptical transitions. One feasible approach is through Purcell-enhanced emission in optical cavities. The ability to modulate cavity-ion coupling in real-time will further elevate the capacity of such systems. Here, we demonstrate direct control of single ion emission by embedding erbium dopants in an electro-optically active photonic crystal cavity patterned from thin-film lithium niobate. Purcell factor over 170 enables single ion detection, which is verified by second-order autocorrelation measurement. Dynamic control of emission rate is realized by leveraging electro-optic tuning of resonance frequency. Using this feature, storage, and retrieval of single ion excitation is further demonstrated, without perturbing the emission characteristics. These results promise new opportunities for controllable single-photon sources and efficient spin-photon interfaces.

  5. Abstract

    Engineering arrays of active optical centers to control the interaction Hamiltonian between light and matter has been the subject of intense research recently. Collective interaction of atomic arrays with optical photons can give rise to directionally enhanced absorption or emission, which enables engineering of broadband and strong atom-photon interfaces. Here, we report on the observation of long-range cooperative resonances in an array of rare-earth ions controllably implanted into a solid-state lithium niobate micro-ring resonator. We show that cooperative effects can be observed in an ordered ion array extended far beyond the light’s wavelength. We observe enhanced emission from both cavity-induced Purcell enhancement and array-induced collective resonances at cryogenic temperatures. Engineering collective resonances as a paradigm for enhanced light-matter interactions can enable suppression of free-space spontaneous emission. The multi-functionality of lithium niobate hosting rare-earth ions can open possibilities of quantum photonic device engineering for scalable and multiplexed quantum networks.