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Back-scatter immune injection-locked Brillouin laser in silicon

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posted on 2023-11-30, 19:24 authored by Nils T. Otterstrom, Shai Gertler, Yishu Zhou, Eric A. Kittlaus, Ryan O. Behunin, Michael Gehl, Andrew L. Starbuck, Christina M. Dallo, Andrew T. Pomerene, Douglas C. Trotter, Anthony L. Lentine, Peter T. Rakich
As self-sustained oscillators, lasers possess the unusual ability to spontaneously synchronize. These nonlinear dynamics are the basis for a simple yet powerful stabilization technique known as injection locking, in which a laser's frequency and phase can be controlled by an injected signal. Due to its inherent simplicity and favorable noise characteristics, injection locking has become a workhorse for coherent amplification and high-fidelity signal synthesis in applications ranging from precision atomic spectroscopy to distributed sensing. Within integrated photonics, however, these injection locking dynamics remain relatively untapped--despite significant potential for technological and scientific impact. Here, we demonstrate injection locking in a silicon photonic Brillouin laser for the first time. Injection locking of this monolithic device is remarkably robust, allowing us to tune the laser emission by a significant fraction of the Brillouin gain bandwidth. Harnessing these dynamics, we demonstrate amplification of small signals by more than 23 dB. Moreover, we demonstrate that the injection locking dynamics of this system are inherently nonreciprocal, yielding unidirectional control and back-scatter immunity in an all-silicon system. This device physics opens the door to new strategies for phase noise reduction, low-noise amplification, and back-scatter immunity in silicon photonics.



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