Article | Published:

Mid-infrared frequency comb via coherent dispersive wave generation in silicon nitride nanophotonic waveguides

Nature Photonicsvolume 12pages330335 (2018) | Download Citation

Abstract

Mid-infrared optical frequency combs are of significant interest for molecular spectroscopy due to the large absorption of molecular vibrational modes on the one hand, and the ability to implement superior comb-based spectroscopic modalities with increased speed, sensitivity and precision on the other hand. Here, we demonstrate a simple, yet effective, method for the direct generation of mid-infrared optical frequency combs in the region from 2.5 to 4.0 μm (that is, 2,500–4,000 cm−1), covering a large fraction of the functional group region, from a conventional and compact erbium-fibre-based femtosecond laser in the telecommunication band (that is, 1.55 μm). The wavelength conversion is based on dispersive wave generation within the supercontinuum process in an unprecedented large-cross-section silicon nitride (Si3N4) waveguide with the dispersion lithographically engineered. The long-wavelength dispersive wave can perform as a mid-infrared frequency comb, whose coherence is demonstrated via optical heterodyne measurements. Such an approach can be considered as an alternative option to mid-infrared frequency comb generation. Moreover, it has the potential to realize compact dual-comb spectrometers. The generated combs also have a fine teeth-spacing, making them suitable for gas-phase analysis.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

Additional information

Publisher’s note: Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

References

  1. 1.

    Schliesser, A., Picqué, N. & Hänsch, T. W. Mid-infrared frequency combs. Nat. Photon. 6, 440–449 (2012).

  2. 2.

    Schiller, S. Spectrometry with frequency combs. Opt. Lett. 27, 766–768 (2002).

  3. 3.

    Keilmann, F., Gohle, C. & Holzwarth, R. Time-domain mid-infrared frequency-comb spectrometer. Opt. Lett. 29, 1542–1544 (2004).

  4. 4.

    Schliesser, A., Brehm, M., Keilmann, F. & van der Weide, D. Frequency-comb infrared spectrometer for rapid, remote chemical sensing. Opt. Express 13, 9029–9038 (2005).

  5. 5.

    Yasui, T., Saneyoshi, E. & Araki, T. Asynchronous optical sampling terahertz time-domain spectroscopy for ultrahigh spectral resolution and rapid data acquisition. Appl. Phys. Lett. 87, 061101 (2005).

  6. 6.

    Coddington, I., Newbury, N. & Swann, W. Dual-comb spectroscopy. Optica 3, 414–426 (2016).

  7. 7.

    Suh, M.-G., Yang, Q.-F., Yang, K. Y., Yi, X. & Vahala, K. J. Microresonator soliton dual-comb spectroscopy. Science 354, 600–603 (2016).

  8. 8.

    Yu, M. et al. Silicon-chip-based mid-infrared dual-comb spectroscopy. Preprint at https://arxiv.org/abs/1610.01121 (2016).

  9. 9.

    Link, S. M., Maas, D. J. H. C., Waldburger, D. & Keller, U. Dual-comb spectroscopy of water vapor with a free-running semiconductor disk laser. Science 356, 1164–1168 (2017).

  10. 10.

    Thorpe, M. J., Moll, K. D., Jones, R. J., Safdi, B. & Ye, J. Broadband cavity ringdown spectroscopy for sensitive and rapid molecular detection. Science 311, 1595–1599 (2006).

  11. 11.

    Bernhardt, B. et al. Cavity-enhanced dual-comb spectroscopy. Nat. Photon. 4, 55–57 (2010).

  12. 12.

    Bjork, B. J. et al. Direct frequency comb measurement of OD + CO → DOCO kinetics. Science 354, 444–448 (2016).

  13. 13.

    Thorpe, M. J., Balslev-Clausen, D., Kirchner, M. S. & Ye, J. Cavity-enhanced optical frequency comb spectroscopy: application to human breath analysis. Opt. Express 16, 2387–2397 (2008).

  14. 14.

    Adler, F. et al. Phase-stabilized, 1.5 W frequency comb at 2.8–4.8 μm. Opt. Lett. 34, 1330–1332 (2009).

  15. 15.

    Petrov, V. Parametric down-conversion devices: the coverage of the mid-infrared spectral range by solid-state laser sources. Opt. Mater. 34, 536–554 (2012).

  16. 16.

    Keilmann, F. & Amarie, S. Mid-infrared frequency comb spanning an octave based on an Er fiber laser and difference-frequency generation. J. Infrared Millim. Terahertz Waves 33, 479–484 (2012).

  17. 17.

    Cruz, F. C. et al. Mid-infrared optical frequency combs based on difference frequency generation for molecular spectroscopy. Opt. Express 23, 26814–26824 (2015).

  18. 18.

    Hugi, A., Villares, G., Blaser, S., Liu, H. & Faist, J. Mid-infrared frequency comb based on a quantum cascade laser. Nature 492, 229–233 (2012).

  19. 19.

    Villares, G., Hugi, A., Blaser, S. & Faist, J. Dual-comb spectroscopy based on quantum-cascade-laser frequency combs. Nat. Commun. 5, 5192 (2014).

  20. 20.

    Wang, C. Y. et al. Mid-infrared optical frequency combs at 2.5 μm based on crystalline microresonators. Nat. Commun. 4, 1345 (2013).

  21. 21.

    Griffith, A. G. et al. Silicon-chip mid-infrared frequency comb generation. Nat. Commun. 6, 6299 (2015).

  22. 22.

    Luke, K., Okawachi, Y., Lamont, M. R., Gaeta, A. L. & Lipson, M. Broadband mid-infrared frequency comb generation in a Si3N4 microresonator. Opt. Lett. 40, 4823–4826 (2015).

  23. 23.

    Yu, M., Okawachi, Y., Griffith, A. G., Lipson, M. & Gaeta, A. L. Mode-locked mid-infrared frequency combs in a silicon microresonator. Optica 3, 854–860 (2016).

  24. 24.

    Vasilyev, S., Mirov, M. & Gapontsev, V. Kerr-lens mode-locked femtosecond polycrystalline Cr2+:ZnS and Cr2+:ZnSe lasers. Opt. Express 22, 5118–5123 (2014).

  25. 25.

    Lee, K. F. et al. Midinfrared frequency combs from coherent supercontinuum in chalcogenide and optical parametric oscillation. Opt. Lett. 39, 2056–2059 (2014).

  26. 26.

    Kuyken, B. et al. An octave-spanning mid-infrared frequency comb generated in a silicon nanophotonic wire waveguide. Nat. Commun. 6, 6310 (2015).

  27. 27.

    Dudley, J. M., Genty, G. & Coen, S. Supercontinuum generation in photonic crystal fiber. Rev. Mod. Phys. 78, 1135–1184 (2006).

  28. 28.

    Jones, D. J. et al. Carrier-envelope phase control of femtosecond mode-locked lasers and direct optical frequency synthesis. Science 288, 635–639 (2000).

  29. 29.

    Cundiff, S. T. & Ye, J. Colloquium: femtosecond optical frequency combs. Rev. Mod. Phys. 75, 325–342 (2003).

  30. 30.

    Halir, R. et al. Ultrabroadband supercontinuum generation in a CMOS-compatible platform. Opt. Lett. 37, 1685–1687 (2012).

  31. 31.

    Epping, J. P. et al. On-chip visible-to-infrared supercontinuum generation with more than 495 THz spectral bandwidth. Opt. Express 23, 19596–19604 (2015).

  32. 32.

    Zhao, H. et al. Visible-to-near-infrared octave spanning supercontinuum generation in a silicon nitride waveguide. Opt. Lett. 40, 2177–2180 (2015).

  33. 33.

    Boggio, J. M. C. et al. Dispersion-optimized multicladding silicon nitride waveguides for nonlinear frequency generation from ultraviolet to mid-infrared. J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 33, 2402–2413 (2016).

  34. 34.

    Liu, X. et al. Octave-spanning supercontinuum generation in a silicon-rich nitride waveguide. Opt. Lett. 41, 2719–2722 (2016).

  35. 35.

    Porcel, M. A. G. et al. Two-octave spanning supercontinuum generation in stoichiometric silicon nitride waveguides pumped at telecom wavelengths. Opt. Express 25, 1542–1554 (2017).

  36. 36.

    Mayer, A. S. et al. Frequency comb offset detection using supercontinuum generation in silicon nitride waveguides. Opt. Express 23, 15440–15451 (2015).

  37. 37.

    Yoon, O. D. et al. Coherent ultra-violet to near-infrared generation in silica ridge waveguides. Nat. Commun. 8, 13922 (2017).

  38. 38.

    Hickstein, D. D. et al. Ultrabroadband supercontinuum generation and frequency-comb stabilization using on-chip waveguides with both cubic and quadratic nonlinearities. Preprint at https://arxiv.org/abs/1704.03908 (2017).

  39. 39.

    Carlson, D. et al. Photonic-chip supercontinuum with tailored spectra for precision frequency metrology. Preprint at https://arxiv.org/abs/1702.03269 (2017).

  40. 40.

    Carlson, D. R. et al. Self-referenced frequency combs using high-efficiency silicon-nitride waveguides. Opt. Lett. 42, 2314–2317 (2017).

  41. 41.

    Mayer, A. S. et al. Offset-free gigahertz midinfrared frequency comb based on optical parametric amplification in a periodically poled lithium niobate waveguide. Phys. Rev. Appl. 6, 054009 (2016).

  42. 42.

    Lau, R. K. W. et al. Octave-spanning mid-infrared supercontinuum generation in silicon nanowaveguides. Opt. Lett. 39, 4518–4521 (2014).

  43. 43.

    Akhmediev, N. & Karlsson, M. Cherenkov radiation emitted by solitons in optical fibers. Phys. Rev. A 51, 2602–2607 (1995).

  44. 44.

    Frosz, M. H., Falk, P. & Bang, O. The role of the second zero-dispersion wavelength in generation of supercontinua and bright–bright soliton-pairs across the zero-dispersion wavelength. Opt. Express 13, 6181–6192 (2005).

  45. 45.

    Moss, D. J., Morandotti, R., Gaeta, A. L. & Lipson, M. New CMOS-compatible platforms based on silicon nitride and Hydex for nonlinear optics. Nat. Photon. 7, 597–607 (2013).

  46. 46.

    Pfeiffer, M. H. P. et al. Photonic damascene process for integrated high-Q microresonator based nonlinear photonics. Optica 3, 20–25 (2016).

  47. 47.

    Karpov, M. et al. Raman self-frequency shift of dissipative Kerr solitons in an optical microresonator. Phys. Rev. Lett. 116, 103902 (2016).

  48. 48.

    Yan, M. et al. Mid-infrared dual-comb spectroscopy with electro-optic modulators. Light Sci. Appl. 6, e17076 (2017).

  49. 49.

    Vainio, M. & Karhu, J. Fully stabilized mid-infrared frequency comb for high-precision molecular spectroscopy. Opt. Express 25, 4190–4200 (2017).

  50. 50.

    Kara, O., Zhang, Z., Gardiner, T. & Reid, D. Dual-comb mid-infrared spectroscopy with free-running oscillators and absolute optical calibration from a radio-frequency reference. Opt. Express 25, 16072–16082 (2017).

  51. 51.

    Timmers, H. et al. Dual frequency comb spectroscopy in the molecular fingerprint region. Preprint at https://arxiv.org/abs/1712.09764 (2017).

  52. 52.

    Kowligy, A. S. et al. Mid-infrared frequency comb generation via cascaded quadratic nonlinearities in quasi-phase-matched waveguides. Preprint at https://arxiv.org/abs/1801.07850 (2018).

  53. 53.

    Agrawal, G. Nonlinear Fiber Optics (Elsevier Academic Press, 2017).

  54. 54.

    Chen, C.-M. & Kelley, P. L. Nonlinear pulse compression in optical fibers: scaling laws and numerical analysis. J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 19, 1961–1967 (2002).

  55. 55.

    Dudley, J. M. & Coen, S. Coherence properties of supercontinuum spectra generated in photonic crystal and tapered optical fibers. Opt. Lett. 27, 1180–1182 (2002).

Download references

Acknowledgements

The authors acknowledge E. Lucas, M. Anderson, J. Jost and A. Feofanov for fruitful discussions and suggestions regarding the manuscript, and assistance with device configuration. This publication was supported by contract W31P4Q-16-1-0002 (SCOUT) from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Defense Sciences Office (DSO). This material is based on work supported by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Air Force Material Command, United States Air Force (USAF) under award no. FA9550-15-1-0099. H.G. and W.W. acknowledge support by funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Marie Sklodowska-Curie IF grant agreement no. 709249 and no. 753749, respectively. A.B., D.G. and C.-S.B. acknowledge support from the European Research Council under grant agreement ERC-2012-StG 306630-MATISSE. All samples were fabricated and grown in the Center of MicroNanoTechnology (CMi) at Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL).

Author information

Author notes

  1. These authors contributed equally: Hairun Guo, Clemens Herkommer, Adrien Billat.

Affiliations

  1. Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements (LPQM), École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Lausanne, Switzerland

    • Hairun Guo
    • , Clemens Herkommer
    • , Chuankun Zhang
    • , Martin H. P. Pfeiffer
    • , Wenle Weng
    •  & Tobias J. Kippenberg
  2. Physik-Department, Technische Universität München (TUM), München, Germany

    • Clemens Herkommer
  3. Photonic Systems Laboratory (PHOSL), École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Lausanne, Switzerland

    • Adrien Billat
    • , Davide Grassani
    •  & Camille-Sophie Brès
  4. Tsinghua University, Beijing, China

    • Chuankun Zhang

Authors

  1. Search for Hairun Guo in:

  2. Search for Clemens Herkommer in:

  3. Search for Adrien Billat in:

  4. Search for Davide Grassani in:

  5. Search for Chuankun Zhang in:

  6. Search for Martin H. P. Pfeiffer in:

  7. Search for Wenle Weng in:

  8. Search for Camille-Sophie Brès in:

  9. Search for Tobias J. Kippenberg in:

Contributions

H.G. and C.H. conceived the design of large-cross-section Si3N4 waveguides. C.H fabricated the large-cross-section waveguides, and performed supercontinuum experiments with A.B. A.B. and D.G. performed supercontinuum experiments in conventional Si3N4 waveguides, under the supervision of C.-S.B. M.H.P.P. fabricated conventional waveguides. H.G. and C.Z. designed and performed coherence experiments, under the supervision of T.J.K. H.G. and W.W. performed noise analysis. All authors discussed the data. H.G. and T.J.K. wrote the manuscript with input from others. T.J.K. supervised the project.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Camille-Sophie Brès or Tobias J. Kippenberg.

Supplementary information

  1. Supplementary Information

    This file contains information on large-size Si3N4 waveguides beyond cracking limitation, mid-infrared efficiency and spectral coverage, and intensity and phase noise measurements.

About this article

Publication history

Received

Accepted

Published

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/s41566-018-0144-1