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Trapping, corralling and spectral bonding of optical resonances through optically induced potentials


Optical forces resulting from interacting modes and cavities can scale to remarkably large values as the optical modes shrink to nanometre dimensions. Such forces can be harnessed in fundamentally new ways when optical elements can freely adapt to them. Here, we propose the use of optomechanically coupled resonators as a general means of tailoring optomechanical potentials through the action of optical forces. We show that significant attractive and repulsive forces arising from optomechanically coupled cavity resonances can give rise to strong and highly localized optomechanical potential wells whose widths can approach picometre scales. These potentials enable unique all-optical self-adaptive behaviours, such as the trapping and corralling (or dynamic capture) of microcavity resonances with light. It is shown, for example, that a resonator can be designed to dynamically self-align (or spectrally bond) its resonance to an incident laser line. Although these concepts are illustrated through dual-microring cavity designs, broad extension to other photonic topologies can be made.

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Figure 1: Optomechanically coupled dual-cavity structure under optical excitation.
Figure 2: Modal analysis of the dual-ring strucure.
Figure 3: A conceptual outline of cavity trapping.
Figure 4: Computed modes and optomechanical potentials of a dual-ring cavity.
Figure 5: Design for dynamically self-aligning microcavity resonator.


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We thank Z. Wang for helpful technical discussions. This work was supported in part by the Army Research Office through the Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies under Contract No. DAAD-19-02-D0002.

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M.A.P. and P.T.R. jointly proposed the concepts for resonant trapping, self-adaptive manipulation and resonant potential synthesis described here.

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Correspondence to Peter T. Rakich.

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Rakich, P., Popović, M., Soljačić, M. et al. Trapping, corralling and spectral bonding of optical resonances through optically induced potentials. Nature Photon 1, 658–665 (2007).

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