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Stokes solitons in optical microcavities

Nature Physics volume 13, pages 5357 (2017) | Download Citation

Abstract

Solitons are wave packets that resist dispersion through a self-induced potential well. They are studied in many fields, but are especially well known in optics on account of the relative ease of their formation and control in optical fibre waveguides1,2. Besides their many interesting properties, solitons are important to optical continuum generation3, in mode-locked lasers4,5, and have been considered as a natural way to convey data over great distances6. Recently, solitons have been realized in microcavities7, thereby bringing the power of microfabrication methods to future applications. This work reports a soliton not previously observed in optical systems, the Stokes soliton. The Stokes soliton forms and regenerates by optimizing its Raman interaction in space and time within an optical potential well shared with another soliton. The Stokes and the initial soliton belong to distinct transverse mode families and benefit from a form of soliton trapping that is new to microcavities and soliton lasers in general. The discovery of a new optical soliton can impact work in other areas of photonics, including nonlinear optics and spectroscopy.

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Acknowledgements

The authors thank S. Cundiff at the University of Michigan for helpful comments on this manuscript. The authors gratefully acknowledge the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency under the PULSE Program, NASA, the Kavli Nanoscience Institute and the Institute for Quantum Information and Matter, an NSF Physics Frontiers Center with support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

Author information

Author notes

    • Qi-Fan Yang
    •  & Xu Yi

    These authors contributed equally to this work.

Affiliations

  1. T. J. Watson Laboratory of Applied Physics, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California 91125, USA

    • Qi-Fan Yang
    • , Xu Yi
    • , Ki Youl Yang
    •  & Kerry Vahala

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Contributions

Experiments were conceived by all co-authors. Analysis of results was conducted by all co-authors. Q.-F.Y. and X.Y. performed measurements. K.Y.Y. fabricated devices. All authors participated in writing the manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Kerry Vahala.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nphys3875

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