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Narrow-linewidth lasing and soliton Kerr microcombs with ordinary laser diodes

Abstract

Narrow-linewidth lasers and optical frequency combs generated with mode-locked lasers have revolutionized optical frequency metrology. The advent of soliton Kerr frequency combs in compact crystalline or integrated ring optical microresonators has opened new horizons in academic research and industrial applications. These combs, as was naturally assumed, however, require narrow-linewidth, single-frequency pump lasers. We demonstrate that an ordinary cost-effective broadband Fabry–Pérot laser diode at the hundreds of milliwatts level, self-injection-locked to a microresonator, can be efficiently transformed to a powerful single-frequency, ultra-narrow-linewidth light source with further transformation to a coherent soliton comb oscillator. Our findings pave the way to the most compact and inexpensive highly coherent lasers, frequency comb sources, and comb-based devices for mass production.

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All data used in this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.

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Acknowledgements

This publication was supported by the Russian Science Foundation (17-12-01413). G.V.L., N.G.P. and A.S.V. were partially supported by the Samsung Research Center in Moscow. The authors acknowledge valuable discussions with T. Kippenberg, K. Vahala and V. Vassiliev. The authors thank H.-S. Lee and Y.-G. Roh from the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technologies for help in establishing the project and its further support.

Author information

N.G.P., S.K. and M.L.G conceived the experiments. N.G.P., A.S.V., S.K., G.V.L. and M.L.G. analysed the results. N.G.P., A.S.V., S.K. and A.S.G. performed measurements with diode lasers and G.V.L. performed measurements with fibre lasers. G.V.L., N.G.P. and A.S.V. fabricated devices. S.V.P. and M.R. set the research direction relevant for industrial needs—comb source for wearable spectrometer (Samsung Gear). S.V.P. supervised the project from Samsung. M.L.G. supervised the project. All authors participated in writing the manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Correspondence to M. L. Gorodetsky.

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Further reading

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Fig. 1: Experimental scheme and set-up.
Fig. 2: Self-injection locking and spectral narrowing of a multi-frequency diode laser coupled to a MgF2 ultrahigh-Q whispering gallery microresonator.
Fig. 3: Soliton generation with a laser diode.