Sub-picosecond phase-sensitive optical pulse characterization on a chip


The recent introduction1,2,3 of coherent optical communications has created a compelling need for ultrafast phase-sensitive measurement techniques operating at milliwatt peak power levels and in timescales ranging from sub-picoseconds to nanoseconds. Previous reports of ultrafast optical signal measurements4,5,6,7 in integrated platforms8,9,10 include time-lens temporal imaging5 on a silicon chip8,9 and waveguide-based frequency-resolved optical gating (FROG)4,6,10. Time-lens imaging is phase-insensitive, and waveguide-based FROG methods require the integration of long tunable delay lines, which is still an unsolved challenge. Here, we report a device capable of characterizing both the amplitude and phase of ultrafast optical pulses with the aid of a synchronized incoherently related clock pulse. It is based on a novel variation of spectral phase interferometry for direct electric-field reconstruction (SPIDER)4,7 that exploits degenerate four-wave mixing in a CMOS-compatible chip. We measure pulses with a peak power of <100 mW, a frequency bandwidth of >1 THz, and up to 100 ps pulsewidths, yielding a time–bandwidth product of >100.

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Figure 1: Device structure.
Figure 2: Output spectra of the FWM-X-SPIDER device for a complex waveform with a bandwidth of 1 THz.
Figure 3: Retrieved phase and amplitude profiles for the spectra in Fig. 2 and experimentally measured FROG SHG spectrograms.
Figure 4: Reconstruction of long-duration (highly chirped) Gaussian pulses with 5 nm (FWHM = 0.53 THz) bandwidth centred at 1,550 nm and dispersed through different SMF sections, applying the novel (Fresnel) algorithm.


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This work was supported by the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centres of Excellence and Discovery programmes, the Fonds Québécois de la Recherche sur la Nature et les Technologies (FQRNT), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), NSERC Strategic Projects, and the INRS. M.P. acknowledges support from the Marie Curie People project TOBIAS PIOF-GA-2008-221262. The authors are grateful to M. Clerici for enlightening discussions and technical help.

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A.P. designed the experiment, the novel algorithm and analysed experimental data. A.P., Y.P. and M.P. carried out the experiment. M.P. built and calibrated the FROG setup for experiment validation. J.A. contributed to the theoretical derivations. S.T.C. and B.E. designed and fabricated the sample. J.A., R.M. and D.M. supervised the project. A.P., M.P., R.M., J.A. and D.M. wrote the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Alessia Pasquazi.

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Pasquazi, A., Peccianti, M., Park, Y. et al. Sub-picosecond phase-sensitive optical pulse characterization on a chip. Nature Photon 5, 618–623 (2011).

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