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Relaxed phase-matching constraints in zero-index waveguides

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posted on 2023-06-08, 12:42 authored by Justin R. Gagnon, Orad Reshef, Daniel H. G. Espinosa, M. Zahirul Alam, Daryl I. Vulis, Erik N. Knall, Jeremy Upham, Yang Li, Ksenia Dolgaleva, Eric Mazur, Robert W. Boyd
The nonlinear optical response of materials is the foundation upon which applications such as frequency conversion, all-optical signal processing, molecular spectroscopy, and nonlinear microscopy are built. However, the utility of all such parametric nonlinear optical processes is hampered by phase-matching requirements. Quasi-phase-matching, birefringent phase matching, and higher-order-mode phase matching have all been developed to address this constraint, but the methods demonstrated to date suffer from the inconvenience of only being phase-matched for a single, specific arrangement of beams, typically co-propagating, resulting in cumbersome experimental configurations and large footprints for integrated devices. Here, we experimentally demonstrate that these phase-matching requirements may be satisfied in a parametric nonlinear optical process for multiple, if not all, configurations of input and output beams when using low-index media. Our measurement constitutes the first experimental observation of direction-independent phase matching for a medium sufficiently long for phase matching concerns to be relevant. We demonstrate four-wave mixing from spectrally distinct co- and counter-propagating pump and probe beams, the backward-generation of a nonlinear signal, and excitation by an out-of-plane probe beam. These results explicitly show that the unique properties of low-index media relax traditional phase-matching constraints, which can be exploited to facilitate nonlinear interactions and miniaturize nonlinear devices, thus adding to the established exceptional properties of low-index materials.



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