Coupled systems with multiple interacting degrees of freedom provide a fertile ground for emergent dynamics, which is otherwise inaccessible in their solitary counterparts. Here we show that coupled nonlinear optical resonators can undergo self-organization in their spectrum leading to a first-order phase transition. We experimentally demonstrate such a spectral phase transition in time-multiplexed coupled optical parametric oscillators. We switch the nature of mutual coupling from dispersive to dissipative and access distinct spectral regimes of the parametric oscillator dimer. We observe abrupt spectral discontinuity at the first-order transition point. Furthermore, we show how non-equilibrium phase transitions can lead to enhanced sensing, where the applied perturbation is not resolvable by the underlying linear system. Our approach could be exploited for sensing applications that use nonlinear driven-dissipative systems, leading to performance enhancements without sacrificing sensitivity.
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Source data are available for this paper and can be found at https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.21252147. All other data that support the plots within this paper and other findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.
The codes that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.
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We thank S. Jahani and M. Gyun Suh for helpful discussions. We acknowledge support from ARO grant no. W911NF-18-1-0285 (A.M.), AFOSR award FA9550-20-1-0040 (A.M.), NSF grant nos. 1846273 (A.M.) and 1918549 (A.M.), and NASA. We wish to thank NTT Research for their financial and technical support.
The authors declare no competing interests.
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Roy, A., Nehra, R., Langrock, C. et al. Non-equilibrium spectral phase transitions in coupled nonlinear optical resonators. Nat. Phys. 19, 427–434 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41567-022-01874-8