Microresonator solitons are critical to miniaturize optical frequency combs to chip scale and have the potential to revolutionize spectroscopy, metrology and timing. With the reduction of resonator diameter, high repetition rates up to 1 THz become possible, and they are advantageous to wavelength multiplexing, coherent sampling, and self-referencing. However, the detection of comb repetition rate, the precursor to all comb-based applications, becomes challenging at these repetition rates due to the limited bandwidth of photodiodes and electronics. Here, we report a dual-comb Vernier frequency division method to vastly reduce the required electrical bandwidth. Free-running 216 GHz “Vernier” solitons sample and divide the main soliton’s repetition frequency from 197 GHz to 995 MHz through electrical processing of a pair of low frequency dual-comb beat notes. Our demonstration relaxes the instrumentation requirement for microcomb repetition rate detection, and could be applied for optical clocks, optical frequency division, and microwave photonics.
Soliton microcombs are a promising new approach for photonic-based microwave signal synthesis. To date, however, the tuning rate has been limited in microcombs. Here, we demonstrate the first microwave-rate soliton microcomb whose repetition rate can be tuned at a high speed. By integrating an electro-optic modulation element into a lithium niobate comb microresonator, a modulation bandwidth up to 75 MHz and a continuous frequency modulation rate up to 5.0 × 1014Hz/s are achieved, several orders-of-magnitude faster than existing microcomb technology. The device offers a significant bandwidth of up to tens of gigahertz for locking the repetition rate to an external microwave reference, enabling both direct injection locking and feedback locking to the comb resonator itself without involving external modulation. These features are especially useful for disciplining an optical voltage-controlled oscillator to a long-term reference and the demonstrated fast repetition rate control is expected to have a profound impact on all applications of frequency combs.more » « less
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Publisher / Repository:
- Nature Publishing Group
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- Journal Name:
- Nature Communications
- Medium: X
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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