The generation of temporal cavity solitons in microresonators results in coherent low-noise optical frequency combs that are critical for applications in spectroscopy, astronomy, navigation or telecommunications. Breather solitons also form an important part of many different classes of nonlinear wave systems, manifesting themselves as a localized temporal structure that exhibits oscillatory behaviour. To date, the dynamics of breather solitons in microresonators remains largely unexplored, and its experimental characterization is challenging. Here we demonstrate the excitation of breather solitons in two different microresonator platforms based on silicon nitride and on silicon. We investigate the dependence of the breathing frequency on pump detuning and observe the transition from period-1 to period-2 oscillation. Our study constitutes a significant contribution to understanding the soliton dynamics within the larger context of nonlinear science.
Broadband mid-infrared (mid-IR) spectroscopy applications could greatly benefit from today's well-developed, highly scalable silicon photonics technology; however, this platform lacks broadband transparency due to its reliance on absorptive silicon dioxide cladding. Alternative cladding materials have been studied, but the challenge lies in decreasing losses while avoiding complex fabrication techniques. Here, in contrast to traditional assumptions, we show that silicon photonics can achieve low-loss propagation in the mid-IR from 3 - 6 um wavelength, thus providing a highly scalable, well-developed technology in this spectral range. We engineer the waveguide cross section and optical mode interaction with the absorptive cladding oxide to reduce loss at mid-IR wavelengths. We fabricate a microring resonator and measure an intrinsic quality (Q) factor of 10^6 at wavelengths from 3.5 to 3.8 um. This is the highest Q demonstrated on an integrated mid-IR platform to date. With this high-Q silicon microresonator, we also demonstrate a low optical parametric oscillation threshold of 5.2 mW, illustrating the utility of this platform for nonlinear chip-scale applications in the mid-IR.
Near-field thermophotovoltaics (NFTPV) is a promising approach for direct conversion of heat to electrical power. This technology relies on the drastic enhancement of radiative heat transfer (compared to conventional blackbody radiation) that occurs when objects at different temperatures are brought to deep subwavelength distances (typically <100 nm) from each other. Achieving such radiative heat transfer between a hot object and a photovoltaic (PV) cell could allow direct conversion of heat to electricity with a greater efficiency than using current solid-state technologies (e.g., thermoelectric generators). One of the main challenges in the development of this technology, however, is its incompatibility with conventional silicon PV cells. Thermal radiation is weak at frequencies larger than the ∼1.1 eV bandgap of silicon, such that PV cells with lower excitation energies (typically 0.4–0.6 eV) are required for NFTPV. Using low bandgap III–V semiconductors to circumvent this limitation, as proposed in most theoretical works, is challenging and therefore has never been achieved experimentally. In this work, we show that hot carrier PV cells based on Schottky junctions between silicon and metallic films could provide an attractive solution for achieving high efficiency NFTPV electricity generation. Hot carrier science is currently an important field of research and several approaches are investigated for increasing the quantum efficiency (QE) of hot carrier generation beyond conventional Fowler model predictions. If the Fowler limit can indeed be overcome, we show that hot carrier-based NFTPV systems—after optimization of their thermal radiation spectrum—could allow electricity generation with up to 10–30% conversion efficiencies and 10–500 W/cm2generated power densities (at 900–1500 K temperatures). We also discuss how the unique properties of thermal radiation in the extreme near-field are especially well suited for investigating recently proposed approaches for high QE hot carrier junctions. We therefore expect our work to be of interest for the field of hot carrier science and—by relying solely on conventional thin film materials—to provide a path for the experimental demonstration of NFTPV energy conversion.
Modern communication networks require high performance and scalable electro-optic modulators that convert electrical signals to optical signals at high speed. Existing lithium niobate modulators have excellent performance but are bulky and prohibitively expensive to scale up. Here we demonstrate scalable and high-performance nanophotonic electro-optic modulators made of single-crystalline lithium niobate microring resonators and micro-Mach-Zehnder interferometers. We show a half-wave electro-optic modulation efficiency of 1.8V-cm and data rates up to 40 Gbps.
Integrated quantum optics has the potential to markedly reduce the footprint and resource requirements of quantum information processing systems, but its practical implementation demands broader utilization of the available degrees of freedom within the optical field. To date, integrated photonic quantum systems have primarily relied on path encoding. However, in the classical regime, the transverse spatial modes of a multi-mode waveguide have been easily manipulated using the waveguide geometry to densely encode information. Here, we demonstrate quantum interference between the transverse spatial modes within a single multi-mode waveguide using quantum circuit-building blocks. This work shows that spatial modes can be controlled to an unprecedented level and have the potential to enable practical and robust quantum information processing.