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Observation of topological frequency combs

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Version 2 2024-04-11, 16:00
Version 1 2024-01-31, 17:00
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posted on 2024-04-11, 16:00 authored by Christopher J. Flower, Mahmoud Jalali Mehrabad, Lida Xu, Gregory Moille, Daniel G. Suarez-Forero, Ogulcan Orsel, Gaurav Bahl, Yanne Chembo, Kartik Srinivasan, Sunil Mittal, Mohammad Hafezi
On-chip generation of optical frequency combs using nonlinear ring resonators has opened the route to numerous novel applications of combs that were otherwise limited to mode-locked laser systems. Nevertheless, even after more than a decade of development, on-chip nonlinear combs still predominantly rely on the use of single-ring resonators. Recent theoretical investigations have shown that generating combs in a topological array of resonators can provide a new avenue to engineer comb spectra. Here, we experimentally demonstrate the generation of such a novel class of frequency combs, topological frequency combs, in a two-dimensional (2D) lattice of hundreds of nonlinear ring resonators. Specifically, the lattice hosts topological edge states that exhibit fabrication-robust linear dispersion and spatial confinement at the boundary of the lattice. Upon optical pumping of the topological edge band, these unique properties of the edge states lead to the generation of a nested frequency comb that is spectrally confined within the edge bands across $\approx$40 longitudinal modes. Moreover, using spatial imaging of our topological lattice, we confirm that light generated in the comb teeth is indeed spatially confined at the lattice edge, characteristic of linear topological systems. Our results bring together the fields of topological photonics and optical frequency combs, providing an opportunity to explore the interplay between topology and nonlinear systems in a platform compatible with commercially available nanofabrication processes.

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