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  1. Strong amplification in integrated photonics is one of the most desired optical functionalities for computing, communications, sensing, and quantum information processing. Semiconductor gain and cubic nonlinearities, such as four-wave mixing and stimulated Raman and Brillouin scattering, have been among the most studied amplification mechanisms on chip. Alternatively, material platforms with strong quadratic nonlinearities promise numerous advantages with respect to gain and bandwidth, among which nanophotonic lithium niobate is one of the most promising candidates. Here, we combine quasi-phase matching with dispersion engineering in nanophotonic lithium niobate waveguides and achieve intense optical parametric amplification. We measure a broadband phase-sensitive on-chip amplification larger than 50 dB/cm in a 6-mm-long waveguide. We further confirm high gain operation in the degenerate and nondegenerate regimes by amplifying vacuum fluctuations to macroscopic levels, with on-chip gains exceeding 100 dB/cm over 600 nm of bandwidth around 2 µm. Our results unlock new possibilities for on-chip few-cycle nonlinear optics, mid-infrared photonics, and quantum photonics.

  2. Despite recent progress in nonlinear optics in wavelength-scale resonators, there are still open questions on the possibility of parametric oscillation in such resonators. We present a general approach to predict the behavior and estimate the oscillation threshold of multi-mode subwavelength and wavelength-scale optical parametric oscillators (OPOs). As an example, we propose an OPO based on Mie-type multipolar resonances, and we demonstrate that due to the low-Qnature of multipolar modes in wavelength-scale resonators, there is a nonlinear interaction between these modes. As a result, the OPO threshold, compared to the single-mode case, can be reduced by a factor that is significantly larger than the number of interacting modes. The multi-mode interaction can also lead to a phase transition manifested through a sudden change in the parametric gain as well as the oscillation threshold, which can be utilized for enhanced sensing. We establish an explicit connection between the second-harmonic generation efficiency and the OPO threshold. This allows us to estimate the OPO threshold based on measured or simulated second-harmonic generation in different classes of resonators, such as bound states in the continuum and inversely designed resonators. Our approach for analyzing and modeling miniaturized OPOs can open unprecedented opportunities for classical andmore »quantum nonlinear photonics.

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  3. Abstract

    Driven nonlinear resonators provide a fertile ground for phenomena related to phase transitions far from equilibrium, which can open opportunities unattainable in their linear counterparts. Here, we show that optical parametric oscillators (OPOs) can undergo second-order phase transitions in the spectral domain between degenerate and non-degenerate regimes. This abrupt change in the spectral response follows a square-root dependence around the critical point, exhibiting high sensitivity to parameter variation akin to systems around an exceptional point. We experimentally demonstrate such a phase transition in a quadratic OPO. We show that the divergent susceptibility of the critical point is accompanied by spontaneous symmetry breaking and distinct phase noise properties in the two regimes, indicating the importance of a beyond nonlinear bifurcation interpretation. We also predict the occurrence of first-order spectral phase transitions in coupled OPOs. Our results on non-equilibrium spectral behaviors can be utilized for enhanced sensing, advanced computing, and quantum information processing.

  4. Engineered non-Hermitian systems featuring exceptional points (EPs) can lead to a host of extraordinary phenomena in diverse fields ranging from photonics, acoustics, opto-mechanics, and electronics to atomic physics. In optics, non-Hermitian dynamics are typically realized using dissipation and phase-insensitive gain accompanied by unavoidable fluctuations. Here, we introduce non-Hermitian dynamics of coupled optical parametric oscillators (OPOs) arising from phase-sensitive amplification and de-amplification, and show their distinct advantages over conventional non-Hermitian systems relying on laser gain and loss. OPO-based non-Hermitian systems can benefit from the instantaneous nature of the parametric gain, noiseless phase-sensitive amplification, and rich quantum and classical nonlinear dynamics. We show that two coupled OPOs can exhibit spectral anti-parity-time (anti-PT) symmetry and a EP between its degenerate and nondegenerate operation regimes. To demonstrate the distinct potentials of the coupled OPO system compared to conventional non-Hermitian systems, we present higher-order EPs with two OPOs, tunable Floquet EPs in a reconfigurable dynamic non-Hermitian system, and the generation of a squeezed vacuum around EPs, all of which are not easy to realize in other non-Hermitian platforms. We believe our results show that coupled OPOs are an outstanding non-Hermitian setting with unprecedented opportunities to realize nonlinear dynamical systems for enhanced sensing and quantum informationmore »processing.

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  5. Extreme skin depth engineering (e-skid) can be applied to integrated photonics to manipulate the evanescent field of a waveguide. Here we demonstrate thate-skidcan be implemented in two directions in order to deterministically engineer the evanescent wave allowing for dense integration with enhanced functionalities. In particular, by increasing the skin depth, we enable the creation of two-dimensional (2D)e-skiddirectional couplers with large gaps and operational bandwidth. Here we experimentally validate 2De-skidfor integrated photonics in a complementary metal–oxide semiconductor (CMOS) photonics foundry and demonstrate strong coupling with a gap of 1.44 µm.