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Hybrid Kerr-electro-optic frequency combs on thin-film lithium niobate

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posted on 2024-02-21, 17:00 authored by Yunxiang Song, Yaowen Hu, Marko Lončar, Kiyoul Yang
Optical frequency combs are indispensable links between the optical and microwave domains, enabling a wide range of applications including precision spectroscopy, ultrastable frequency generation, and timekeeping. Chip-scale integration miniaturizes bulk implementations onto photonic chips, offering highly compact, stable, and power-efficient frequency comb sources. State of the art integrated frequency comb sources are based on resonantly-enhanced Kerr effect and, more recently, on electro-optic effect. While the former can routinely reach octave-spanning bandwidths and the latter feature microwave-rate spacings, achieving both in the same material platform has been challenging. Here, we leverage both strong Kerr nonlinearity and efficient electro-optic phase modulation available in the ultralow-loss thin-film lithium niobate photonic platform, to demonstrate a hybrid Kerr-electro-optic frequency comb with stabilized spacing. In our approach, a dissipative Kerr soliton is first generated, and then electro-optic division is used to realize a frequency comb with 2,589 comb lines spaced by 29.308 GHz and spanning 75.9 THz (588 nm) end-to-end. Further, we demonstrate electronic stabilization and control of the soliton spacing, naturally facilitated by our approach. The broadband, microwave-rate comb in this work overcomes the spacing-span tradeoff that exists in all integrated frequency comb sources, and paves the way towards chip-scale solutions for complex tasks such as laser spectroscopy covering multiple bands, micro- and millimeter-wave generation, and massively parallel optical communications.



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