Letter | Published:

Symmetry-breaking-induced nonlinear optics at a microcavity surface

Nature Photonicsvolume 13pages2124 (2019) | Download Citation

Abstract

Second-order nonlinear optical processes lie at the heart of many applications in both classical and quantum regimes1,2,3. Inversion symmetry, however, rules out the second-order nonlinear electric-dipole response1,4,5 in materials widely adopted in integrated photonics (for example, SiO2, Si and Si3N4). Here, we report nonlinear optics induced by symmetry breaking6,7,8,9,10 at the surface of an ultrahigh-Q silica microcavity under a sub-milliwatt continuous-wave pump. By dynamically coordinating the double-resonance phase matching, a second harmonic is achieved with an unprecedented conversion efficiency of 0.049% W−1, 14 orders of magnitude higher than that of the non-enhancement case11. In addition, the nonlinear effect from the intrinsic symmetry breaking at the surface8,12 can be identified unambiguously, with guided control of the pump polarization and the recognition of the second-harmonic mode distribution. This work not only extends the emission frequency range of silica photonic devices, but also lays the groundwork for applications in ultra-sensitive surface analysis.

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The data that support the plots within this paper and other findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.

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Acknowledgements

The authors thank K. J. Vahala, M. Lončar, C. Tian, Y. R. Shen, T. F. Heinz, X. Yi, D. Lippolis, H. Wang, Q.-F. Yang and L. Shao for helpful discussions. This project is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant nos. 11825402, 11654003, 61435001, 11474011, 61611540346 and 11527901), the National Key R&D Program of China (grant no. 2016YFA0301302), and the High-performance Computing Platform of Peking University.

Author information

Author notes

  1. Thomas J. Watson, Sr., Laboratory of Applied Physics, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA.

  2. These authors contributed equally: Xueyue Zhang, Qi-Tao Cao.

Affiliations

  1. State Key Laboratory for Mesoscopic Physics and Collaborative Innovation Center of Quantum Matter, School of Physics, Peking University, Beijing, People’s Republic of China

    • Xueyue Zhang
    • , Qi-Tao Cao
    • , Qihuang Gong
    •  & Yun-Feng Xiao
  2. Department of microelectronics and nanoelectronics, Tsinghua University, Beijing, People’s Republic of China

    • Xueyue Zhang
    •  & Yu-xi Liu
  3. Collaborative Innovation Center of Extreme Optics, Shanxi University, Shanxi, People’s Republic of China

    • Qi-Tao Cao
    • , Qihuang Gong
    •  & Yun-Feng Xiao
  4. Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, National University of Singapore, Singapore, Singapore

    • Zhuo Wang
    •  & Cheng-Wei Qiu
  5. Institute of Microelectronics, Tsinghua University, Beijing, People’s Republic of China

    • Yu-xi Liu
  6. Department of Electrical and Systems Engineering, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, USA

    • Lan Yang

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Contributions

X.Z. and Q.-T.C. fabricated the microcavity samples, built the experimental set-up and carried out measurements. X.Z., Q.-T.C., Z.W., Y.-x.L. and C.-W.Q. built the theoretical model and peformed numerical simulations. Y.-F.X., X.Z., Q.-T.C., C.-W.Q. and L.Y. wrote the manuscript with input from all co-authors. All the authors analysed the data and contributed to the discussion. Y.-F.X. conceived the idea and designed the experiment. Y.-F.X. and Q.G. supervised the project.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Yun-Feng Xiao.

Supplementary information

  1. Supplementary Information

    Supplementary Figures 1–5, Supplementary Tables 1–2 and additional information about the work.

  2. Supplementary Video 1

    Dynamic phase-matching process.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/s41566-018-0297-y

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