Abstract
Optical frequency comb technology has been the cornerstone for scientific breakthroughs in precision metrology. In particular, the unique phasecoherent link between microwave and optical frequencies solves the longstanding puzzle of precision optical frequency synthesis. While the current bulk modelocked laser frequency comb has had great success in extending the scientific frontier, its use in realworld applications beyond the laboratory setting remains an unsolved challenge due to the relatively large size, weight and power consumption. Recently microresonatorbased frequency combs have emerged as a candidate solution with chipscale implementation and scalability. The widersystem precision control and stabilization approaches for frequency microcombs, however, requires external nonlinear processes and multiple peripherals which constrain their application space. Here we demonstrate an internal phasestabilized frequency microcomb that does not require nonlinear secondthird harmonic generation nor optical external frequency references. We demonstrate that the optical frequency can be stabilized by control of two internally accessible parameters: an intrinsic comb offset ξ and the comb spacing f_{rep}. Both parameters are phaselocked to microwave references, with phase noise residuals of 55 and 20 mrad respectively, and the resulting combtocomb optical frequency uncertainty is 80 mHz or less. Outofloop measurements confirm good coherence and stability across the comb, with measured optical frequency instability of 2 × 10^{−11} at 20second gate time. Our measurements are supported by analytical theory including the cavityinduced modulation instability. We further describe an application of our technique in the generation of low noise microwaves and demonstrate noise suppression of the repetition rate below the microwave stabilization limit achieved.
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Introduction
Phasestabilized optical frequency combs (OFCs), with the multitude of coherent and stable spectral lines, bridges the research frontiers in ultrastable laser physics and ultrafast optical science.^{1,2,3,4,5,6} Phase stabilization requires twodimensional feedback control on the comb’s intrinsic two degrees of freedom, the comb spacing and one of the comb line optical frequencies. While the comb spacing can be readily measured with a highspeed photodetector, assessment of the comb line optical frequency fluctuations often requires nontrivial and/or nonlinear processes. One approach is to compare the OFC against an external optical reference, and previous phase stabilization of Kerr frequency comb has been predominantly demonstrated with schemes based on this approach.^{7,8} The requirement of an external optical reference, however, limits the achievable compactness of Kerr frequency comb and impairs its integration of chipbased photonics with electronics. Another approach is to devise a nonlinear optical interferometry which reveals the optical frequency instability through the socalled carrierenvelopeoffset frequency f_{ceo}, an internal OFC property resulting from the difference in the phase and group velocities.^{9} Knowledge of f_{rep} and f_{ceo} fully determines the optical frequencies of a modelocked laserbased OFC, and phase locking them to stable microwave references ensures the intricate stability of the optical frequency synthesizer. Figure 1a shows the schematic of a stateoftheart f–2f nonlinear interferometer widely adopted to measure the f_{ceo}.^{10} First, the output pulse from a modelocked laser is spectrally broadened in a highly nonlinear photonic crystal fiber such that its optical spectrum spans more than an octave. Then the octavelevel spectrum is separated into two parts: the lowerfrequency end undergoes secondharmonic generation in a nonlinear crystal while the higherfrequency end only experiences freepropagation. Finally, the two beams are put together in both transverse and longitudinal coordinates for them to interfere on a photodetector and generate a beat note at f_{ceo}. For the nonlinear processes to work properly, spectral broadening, in particular, fewcycle pulses with peak powers in the 10kW level are required.^{6}
While the microresonatorbased OFC, or Kerr frequency microcomb, is approaching the performance of modelocked laserbased OFC in many aspects,^{11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21,22,23,24,25,26,27,28,29,30,31,32,33,34,35} its output pulse duration and peak power are still lower by orders of magnitude. Application of f–2f and 2f–3f nonlinear interferometer technique to the Kerr frequency comb is thus challenging and power demanding. The pulse duration can potentially be improved by finer dispersion engineering, but the peak power is fundamentally limited by the bandwidthefficiency product^{36} and the large comb spacing. On the other hand, the 10 to 100 GHz comb spacing of Kerr frequency comb is considered an advantageous feature for applications like coherent Raman spectroscopy,^{37} optical arbitrary waveform generation,^{38} high bandwidth telecommunication,^{39,40} and astrospectrograph calibration.^{41,42,43} In a recent pioneering demonstration of selfreferenced Kerr frequency comb where f–2f nonlinear interferometer technique is adopted,^{27,44} a hybrid approach was utilized with two interlocking combs, a THz spacing comb with dispersive waves at f and 2f is used to calculate f_{ceo} while a second relatively closely spaced comb is simultaneously generated to measure f_{rep}. This approach is successful; however, the experimental setup includes several components including lasers at different wavelengths, frequency shifters, and a thulium amplifier. In addition, in recent years there have been several experiments attempting to facilitate stabilization and reduce the size, weight, and power (SWaP) impact of peripherals via more compact control,^{45} electrooptic modulation of large spacing combs,^{46} and micromachined atomic cells.^{47,48}
In this work, we attempt to extend current stabilization techniques using the unique generation mechanism of Kerr frequency microcombs. We demonstrate comb stabilization using only internal degrees of freedom in a single resonator with no external nonlinear processes and achieve an Allan deviation (AD) of 2 × 10^{−11} at a 20s gate time for the stabilized comb lines. After the stabilization of f_{rep}, we show that ξ resembles f_{ceo} in gauging the optical frequency instability without the need of an external optical reference. ξ is specifically sensitive to the fluctuation in pump frequency, which is at the same time the 0^{th} comb line frequency. Phase locking of f_{rep} and ξ to lownoise microwave oscillators thus guarantees the optical frequency stability of the microcomb. This method has potential for chipscale integration, while circumventing the need for a large number of peripherals, thereby preserving the key SWaP advantage of frequency microcombs.
Results and discussion
Kerr frequency comb formation in the microresonator is illustrated in Fig. 1b. The intracavity power is gradually increased by decreasing the frequency of an initially bluedetuned pump. As coupled cavity power crosses a threshold, modulation instability (MI) gain dominates over cavity loss forming primary comb lines via degenerate fourwave mixing (FWM). The frequency difference between the primary lines (Δ) is determined by dispersion, pump power and mode interaction. In general, however, Δ need not be an integer multiple of the cavity repetition rate f_{rep}. Thus, on the formation of subcombs with secondary comb lines spaced by f_{rep}, around the primary lines, the generated comb exhibits an intrinsic offset frequency ξ, that may be directly detected by a photodetector.^{13,14,15,16} While in general the comb state can be complex with multiple offset beats or chaotic (see Supplementary Note I), with detuning and pump power control it is possible to generate just a single set of primary lines (unique Δ) and therefore a microcomb with a welldefined ξ uniquely. Figure 1c shows the optical spectrum of such a comb in the Cband, the particular phaselocked breather state generated necessitates a modulated comb spectrum since we do not have full merging of the subcombs. Figure 1d zooms in to a 3 nm bandwidth showing the spacing Δ and the merging of subcombs. In Fig. 1e, we see the resultant RF beat notes at ξ = 523.35 MHz and f_{rep} = 17.9 GHz, as detected by a highspeed photodetector. We further confirm the existence of only one primary comb family and the uniformity of f_{rep} and ξ across the Kerr frequency comb by measuring the beat notes at different spectral segments with a tunable 0.22nm bandpass filter, in Fig. 1f and g, respectively. The breather state generated is stable and exists across a range of powers and detuning. In our specific instance, we see a stable breather over a detuning span of over GHz and with a power tolerance of ≈1 dB. In addition to being of use in locking, such phaselocked breather Kerr combs have also recently come under some scrutiny for their rich cavity dynamics.^{49}
Experimental characterization of microcomb full stabilization
Figure 2a depicts the frequency microcomb setup for stabilization.^{50} Detailed descriptions of the chip fabrication and measurement setup are included in the “Method” and Supplementary Notes II and III, respectively. The Si_{3}N_{4} microresonator is fabricated with CMOScompatible processes and the spiral design ensures that the relatively large resonator fits into a tight fieldofview to avoid additional cavity losses introduced by photomask stitching and discretization errors. The resonator has a quality factor Q of 1.2 million intrinsically in the transverseelectric mode polarization, with nearcritical coupling for a 600,000 loaded Q. The waveguide width of 2 μm (725 nm height) allows for significant mode overlap between the fundamental and firstorder TE modes, and thereby the resonator exhibits periodic modeinteraction spaced by 4 nm. Freespace to chip coupling is implemented by a 600 µm long adiabatic coupler which allows, with our coupling freespace lens, a total chip coupling loss not more than 5.5 dB. In order to suppress environmental temperature fluctuations from the microcomb, the resonator chip is placed on a thermoelectric cooler for thermal control and placed in a box with two layers of thermal foam insulation. We note that the box is not entirely sealed, which gives little convective currents within the box or between the external environment and the box, leading to some temperature fluctuations. The entire setup including the optics is then placed in an acrylic chamber. Acoustic noise is dampened by placing the enclosed setup on a sorbothane sheet and then placing it on an active optical table. The comb spacing of 17.9 GHz is directly measurable by sending the output to a highspeed photodetector. The comb spacing is then phase locked and stabilized to a microwave oscillator by controlling the pump power through a fiber electrooptic modulator (primary loop) and either the gain of the erbiumdoped fiber amplifier (slow loop marked in yellow) or temperature of the chip mount (slow loop marked in green). Quality of the f_{rep} stabilization is detailed in Supplementary Note III.
Of note, the freerunning offset frequency ξ is much noisier than the comb spacing f_{rep} due to the additional multiplier in the constitutive equation that is proportional to the spacing between the primary comb lines and pump (Δ) divided by the repetition rate (the brackets in Eq. (1) correspond to the floor operation):
To this end, f_{rep} stabilization loop is always engaged before measurements on the offset frequency is conducted. Comparison between freerunning and postf_{rep} stabilization ξ is included in Supplementary Note III. As the offset frequency is localized to the spectral region where secondary comb lines overlap, a 0.22 nm optical bandpass filter is used to select the overlapped comb lines around 1553.5 nm for detection. The beat note is thus improved to 50 dB above the noise floor with a resolution bandwidth (RBW) of 10 kHz, sufficient for a reliable feedback stabilization (more than 45 dB with 10 kHz RBW). The offset frequency is divided by 15 before it is phase locked and stabilized to a microwave synthesizer. The prescaling reduces the phase fluctuation, while preserving the instability of the oscillator frequency, and thus it makes the ξ phaselocked loop more robust against noise. The highbandwidth feedback on ξ is achieved by direct current modulation of the external cavity diode laser (ECDL), and the slow feedback is done through piezoelectric transducer control of the ECDL. We heterodyne beat our Kerr frequency comb with a stabilized fiber frequency comb (FFC) to measure outofloop stability. All microwave oscillators and frequency counters are commonly referenced to a rubidiumdisciplined crystal oscillator with a 5 × 10^{−12} frequency instability at 1 s integration time.
Kerr frequency comb generation mechanism can be described by the nonlinear Schrӧdinger equation and the cavity boundary condition:^{51,52,53}
where E^{n}(z,t) is the electric field envelope function at the nth cavity roundtrip, z is the propagation, t is the retarded time, α is cavity roundtrip loss, β_{2} is the group velocity dispersion (GVD), γ is the nonlinear coefficient, T is transmission coefficient of the coupler, and φ_{0} is the phase accumulated in a roundtrip. Here the microresonator is assumed to be critically coupled, for simplicity. Under the meanfield approximation and the good cavity limit, the primary comb spacing, which depends on the optimal frequency where modulation instability gain reaches its maximum, can be solved as (Supplementary Note IV):
where \(\eta = \frac{{\beta _2}}{{\left {\beta _2} \right}}\) is the sign of the GVD, n_{g} is the group index, n_{o} is the refractive index, N is the longitudinal mode number, c is the speed of light in vacuum, f_{p} is the pump frequency, and P_{int} is the intracavity pump power. This picture of comb formation is illustrated in the schematic Fig. 2b.
Equations (1) and (4) explicitly show the dependence of ξ on f_{p}, f_{rep}, and P_{int}. In the highQ Si_{3}N_{4} microresonator, P_{int} is resonantly enhanced to be as high as 30 W and it is the dominant heat source to change the cavity temperature and subsequently the comb spacing.^{29} For instance, a pump power variation of 0.12% results in a microcomb linetoline frequency spacing of 1.6 × 10^{−5} fluctuation, corresponding to a large cavity temperature fluctuation of 1 K. While f_{rep} is directly dependent on cavity temperature and P_{int},^{54} we note that f_{rep} is only indirectly dependent on f_{p}. This indirect dependence is eventually attributable to a change in P_{int} since a change in detuning changes the power coupled to the cavity.
Theoretically this can be understood by noting that the usual way f_{p} directly contributes to changes in f_{rep} is via Raman selffrequency shift,^{54} however since our comb is not a soliton, this effect is negligible. Thus, we expect the f_{rep} stabilization will effectively eliminate the P_{int} fluctuation. Under this assumption, the offset frequency is reduced to just a function of pump frequency once the comb spacing is stabilized. Control of f_{rep} and ξ is thus equivalent to the regulation of f_{rep} and f_{ceo} in full stabilization of the Kerr frequency comb. Figure 2c plots the measured and simulated offset frequency as a function of pump wavelength after the f_{rep} stabilization (The simulated slope in Fig. 2c is described in detail in Supplementary Note IV). We observe that the offset frequency scales linearly with the pump wavelength at a slope of 4.5 MHz per picometer shift of pump (corresponding to a sensitivity of 3.7 × 10^{−2}). In addition, in Fig. 2d, we introduce an outofloop perturbation to pump power after f_{rep} stabilization, but observe no change in the breather tone. If the f_{rep} lock had not entirely eliminated the introduced power change, the P_{int} dependence of Δ (and hence ξ) would have caused a change in the breather frequency. The measurements therefore validate the assumption that f_{rep} stabilization effectively eliminates the intracavity pump power fluctuation and reduces the dependence of ξ to just a function of pump frequency. Mode hybridization in the current multimode Si_{3}N_{4} microresonator leads to abrupt increase of local GVD and results in the pinning of primary comb lines.^{55,56} The effect reduces the slope, i.e. sensitivity, of offset frequency in gauging the pump frequency fluctuation (Eq. 4). Nevertheless, the sensitivity is already more than two orders of magnitude larger than the optical frequency division ratio, \(\partial f_{{\mathrm{rep}}}/\partial f_{{\mathrm{opt}}}\sim 10^{  4}\), where f_{opt} is the optical frequency of any the generated comb lines. Thus the fluctuations of the Kerr frequency comb lines \(\delta f_{{\mathrm{opt}}} = \frac{1}{{\partial f_{rep}/\partial f_{{\mathrm{opt}}}}}\delta f_{{\mathrm{rep}}} + \frac{1}{{\partial \xi /\partial f_{{\mathrm{opt}}}}}\delta \xi \) (\(\delta \)ξ is under constant f_{rep}) are thus bounded by the residual error and the local oscillator of the f_{rep} stabilization loop (Supplementary Note III), when both f_{rep} and ξ are stabilized. We must note here that although the coefficient of the \(\delta \xi \) term is relatively small, if ξ is not locked at all then the pump is still free to drift (in this situation dξ will be orders of magnitude larger than df_{rep}) and f_{opt} is no longer stable.
Characterization of the proposed stabilization technique
Figure 3a, b shows the quality of the ξ stabilization (after f_{rep} stabilization is engaged). To minimize the crosstalk between the two phaselocked loops, here the proportionalintegral corner frequency is set lower than that of the f_{rep} stabilization loop. On the other hand, a second integrator at 500 Hz is included to better suppress lowfrequency noise. Compared to the unstabilized beat note, the stabilized ξ shows a clear resolution limited coherent spike (Fig. 3a). The noise oscillation at 205 kHz is the remaining crosstalk derived from the corresponding noise peak in the f_{rep} stabilization loop (Supplementary Note III). Figure 3b. plots the singlesideband phase noise of the reference oscillator as well as the residual error of our feedback loop from 1 Hz to 1 MHz. While the lowfrequency noise is well suppressed to below the reference, excessive phase noise above 2 kHz from carrier is observed. The root mean square phase error integrated from 6 Hz to 600 kHz is 55 mrad. To verify the uniformity of the offset frequencies, ξ are measured at two distinct spectral regions other than 1553.5 nm where the beat note is used for stabilization. The selected spectral segments (marked red in Fig. 3c) are representative as each ξ is generated from the overlap of different groups of secondary comb lines. Counter results and the corresponding histogram analysis are summarized in Fig. 3d, e. The mean values at 1544.72 nm and 1547.86 nm are 523349999.84 Hz and 523349999.92 Hz, respectively, while the beat note at 1553.5 nm is stabilized to 523350000 Hz. Offset frequencies at different spectral regions are identical within a subHz error, confirming the uniformity of ξ across the Kerr frequency comb. Phase locking of f_{rep} and ξ to lownoise microwave oscillators is complete and it should guarantee the optical frequency stability of the Kerr frequency comb.
Outofloop assessment of the stabilized Kerr frequency comb
We interrogated the locked microcomb by beating with an external stabilized FFC, and counting the beat frequencies with a 10digit, Λtype frequency counter. The FFC is independently stabilized with the f–2f interferometer technique (Supplementary Note V). In Fig. 4a an external perturbation is artificially introduced by disconnecting the slow feedback to the laser piezo control and instead using the piezo to induce a periodic 20 MHz frequency fluctuation. The inset shows clear suppression of the external perturbation (>20 dB) when both phase locked loops are engaged. In Fig. 4b we plot the Allan deviations (ADs) of the comb lines under two different locking schemes. When slow feedback is provided to the EDFA and there is no ambient temperature stabilization (yellow path in Fig. 2a), a 5 × 10^{−11}/\(\sqrt \tau \) (at 1 s) frequency instability is observed, close to the 17.9 GHz reference oscillator. No apparent difference is observed between the ADs of the two comb lines 43 nm apart, indicating a good coherence transfer across the Kerr frequency comb. For longer gate times, the ADs show a characteristic linear dependence on the gate time that can be attributed to the uncompensated ambient temperature drift. For instance, considering the current chip holder has a longterm temperature stability of less than 10 mK which is limited by the resolution of the temperature sensor, a pump power proportional change of 1.2 × 10^{−5} is needed to keep the intracavity temperature and consequently the f_{rep} constant. Such pump power variation in turn results in a change of 13 kHz in the pump frequency (\(\Delta f_{\mathrm{p}} = \frac{{\gamma c}}{{\pi n_{\mathrm{g}}}}\Delta P_{{\mathrm{int}}}\) from Eq. (4)). The frequency instability is gauged to be in the range of 7 × 10^{−11} when compared to optical carrier of ≈188 THz, in agreement with the asymptotic behavior of the measured AD. We can however partially compensate this ambient temperature drift via improved doublewalled packaging along with slow feedback to a TEC on the chip holder that directly controls chip temperature (green path in Fig. 2a). After implementing these improvements we achieve an improved Allan deviation of 2 × 10^{−11} at 20s gate time, and decreased the slope of AD increase from τ to τ^{0.23}, marked as the blue line in Fig. 4b.
The unique stabilization technique thus implemented can be used to stabilize the absolute frequency of each comb line in the Kerr frequency comb without the need of an octavelevel comb spectrum and any external nonlinear process. We also confirm the universality of this method by finding comb states with unique ξ across multiple rings with widely varying f_{rep} and waveguide geometries (detailed in Supplementary Note VI). However, this method does not allow us to determine the precise optical frequency of each line without calibration via an optical reference. Despite this apparent limitation, the method described here can be used to extend the functionality of frequency combs to various applications while preserving a low SWaP as external nonlinear processes are not required for comb stabilization. We briefly describe one such application and lay out a path for its achievement.
Generation of lownoise microwaves
As another application of the correlation between f_{p}, pump power, f_{rep} and ξ, we propose the generation of lownoise microwaves by stabilizing the pump frequency and ξ. The following method may also be applied to fullstabilization of combs with f_{rep} too large to directly measure. In prior literature lownoise microwave generation via optical frequency division^{57,58} has been accomplished with broad octavelevel combs that allow for internal detection of f_{ceo} via f–2f interferometry and atomic transition or external cavity reference that may be used to stabilize a single comb line.^{59,60,61,62,63} The comb f_{rep} instability would then be suppressed by a factor close to the optical frequency division ratio (≈10^{4}) when compared to the optical reference instability. We can however remove the requirement for the detection of f_{ceo} and hence for the comb spectrum to be across an octave in frequency if we instead use a modified method based on the stabilization of ξ described previously.^{64}
To generate lownoise microwaves, we propose locking the pump to a stable optical reference and then locking the frequency ξ to a microwave LO, it can be shown that doing so stabilizes the f_{rep}. This is because ξ depends on both pump frequency and pump power and upon stabilizing the pump frequency to an optical reference, pump power is the sole factor determining the stability of both ξ and f_{rep} which are now directly correlated. Figure 4c shows the setup schematic for stabilization. The device is pumped with a high power EDFA and a comb state measured to have a unique offset ξ at 40 MHz frequency with over 50 dB SNR (at an RBW of 100 kHz) is generated. The pump is then locked to a fullystabilized fiber frequency comb referenced to an ultrastable cavity. The offset ξ is locked via feedback to a polarization rotator. Together with the PBS placed after the EDFA, this can modulate the input power to the device. To adjust the chip mount and resonator temperature, we feedback with slow bandwidth to the TEC. This partially suppresses ambient thermal drift and increases lock dynamic range. We confirm the strong linear correlation between pump power, f_{rep} and ξ in Fig. 4d. We observe that for a 3% change in pump power, corresponding to a 200 kHz change in f_{rep}, there is a 3 MHz change in ξ. This implies that the frequency sensitivity of ξ to pump power fluctuations ≈15 times higher, and (due to the large difference in the carrier frequencies) the frequency sensitivity of ξ to pump power is ≈6700 times higher than that of f_{rep}. Locking ξ may thus suppress phase noise in f_{rep}, beyond what would be achieved by directly locking f_{rep} to a microwave reference. When f_{rep} is divided down (in the limit of no residual noise) to the carrier frequency of ξ, this would correspond to a phase noise suppression of 64.7 dB. f_{rep} before and after ξ lock is recorded on the ESA and plotted in Supplementary note VII, confirming that locking ξ suppresses f_{rep} noise. In Fig. 4e we plot the phase noise of both the locked ξ and f_{rep} (divided down to 40 MHz), we see that at high offset frequencies the noise is suppressed by over 60 dB as per our expectations, however there is still uncompensated f^{2} thermal noise due to the coupled ambient temperature fluctuations, that our loops cannot remove. This noise can however be further reduced by suppressing ξ’s phase noise parameters, and increasing the thermal isolation or implementing passive temperature stabilization techniques such as an auxiliary laser^{34}
Conclusion
Utilizing only internally accessible combparameters such as f_{rep} and offset frequency ξ, we have demonstrated an approach to fully stabilize comb line frequencies of appropriately generated comb states. The existence of microcombs with only one set of primary comb lines, critical for the new stabilization method, is a consistent property of these nonlinear microresonators and have been found in devices across multiple chipsets with very different dispersion, Q and f_{rep}. The sensitivity for our device is measured as 3.7 × 10^{−2}, already more than two orders of magnitude larger than the optical frequency division ratio, and it can be improved by novel microresonator designs to suppress the mode hybridization.^{63} Furthermore, having both f_{rep} and ξ phaselocked to lownoise microwave oscillators concurrently enables the frequency microcomb optical stability. Simulation results of the correlation between ξ and pump frequency, needed for a successful lock, are also in good agreement with the experiment. We further show the frequency microcomb has frequency instability of 2 × 10^{−11} at 20s gate time, bounded by the external microwave reference. For gate times longer than 20 s, AD increases due to the uncompensated ambient temperature drift. Such longterm drift can be improved by a better thermal shield or a more effective temperature control.^{65} We have also discussed an avenue in which this method might prove useful, namely in the generation of lownoise microwaves, and we have also demonstrated a proofofprinciple experiment showing this. We believe our method could find use in a range of applications that require stable chipscale OFCs due to its advantages of low SWaP and potentially reduced need for optical peripherals.
Methods
Si_{3}N_{4} microresonator fabrication
First a 3 μm thick oxide layer is deposited via plasmaenhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) on ptype 8” silicon wafers to serve as the undercladding oxide. Then lowpressure chemical vapor deposition (LPCVD) is used to deposit a 725 nm silicon nitride for the spiral resonators, with a gas mixture of SiH_{2}Cl_{2} and NH_{3}. The resulting silicon nitride layer is patterned by optimized 248 nm deepultraviolet lithography and etched down to the buried oxide layer via optimized reactive ion dry etching. The sidewall is observed to have an etch verticality of 85°. Next the silicon nitride spiral resonators are overcladded with a 3 μm thick oxide layer and annealed at 1200 °C. The refractive index of the silicon nitride film is measured with an ellipsometric spectroscopy from 500 nm to 1700 nm. The fitted Sellmeier equation assuming a single absorption resonance in the ultraviolet, \(n\left( \lambda \right) = \sqrt {1 + \frac{{\left( {2.90665 \pm 0.00192} \right)\lambda ^2}}{{\lambda ^2  \left( {145.05007 \pm 1.03964} \right)^2}}} \), is imported into the COMSOL Multiphysics for the waveguide dispersion simulation, which includes both the material dispersion and the geometric dispersion.
Stabilization setup and outofloop analysis
The PI^{2}D control servos we use for feedback in both f_{rep} and ξ phaselocked loops have a full bandwidth of 10 MHz and can be set to have two PI corners, to effectively suppress lowfrequency noise, in addition to a PD corner to increase the loop stability. To ensure minimal crosstalk between the loops, the PI corners are set at very different frequencies. For the f_{rep} stabilization, the PI corner for the first integrator is set to 200 kHz while the second integrator is switched off. For the ξ stabilization, the PI corners are set to 500 Hz and 50 kHz to achieve higher suppression for lowfrequency noise. In addition, the PD corners are set to 200 kHz and 100 kHz, respectively, with a differential gain of 10 dB. The derivative control is important in our system to make the feedback loop more stable and achieve optimal noise suppression. Due to alignment drift in the optics, the mean level of the servo output keeps increasing until the lock is lost in a few minutes. To increase the operation time, we also include in each loop a slow feedback where the feedback error signal is generated by integrating the servo output for 1 s. The control units of the slow feedback loops are the EDFA gain and the piezoelectric transducer (PZT), which have larger dynamic ranges than the EOM and the diode current. For outofloop analysis, the beat frequency between the Kerr frequency comb and the fiber laser frequency comb is counted with a 10digit, Λtype frequency counter and the Allan deviation is estimated using the equation \(\sigma _{\mathrm{A}}\left( \tau \right) = \sqrt {\frac{1}{N}\mathop {\sum}\nolimits_{i = 1}^{i = N} {\frac{{\left( {\bar y_{{\mathrm{i}} + 1}  \bar y_{\mathrm{i}}} \right)^2}}{2}} } \), where τ, \(\bar y_{\mathrm{i}}\), and \(N = {\mathrm{min}}\left\{ {20,\left[ {\frac{{200}}{\tau }} \right]} \right\}\) are the gate times, the fractional frequencies, and the number of samples, respectively. The gratingbased filter critically removes the unwanted reference fiber laser frequency comb teeth such that clean heterodyne beat notes with more than 30 dB signal to noise ratio (measured with a 100 kHz RBW), sufficient for reliable counting measurements, can be routinely obtained.
Data availability
The datasets generated during and/or analyzed during the study are available from the corresponding authors on reasonable request.
Code availability
The code used in the analysis of the datasets is available from the corresponding authors on reasonable request.
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Acknowledgements
The authors acknowledge discussions with Futai Hu, Jinkang Lim, Roberto Diener, Robert Lutwak, Abirami Sivananthan, Wenting Wang and James F. McMillan. We acknowledge funding support from the DARPA (HR00111520014), ONR (N000141612094), and the AFOSR Young Investigator Award (FA95501510081). This manuscript is dedicated to Professor Tatsuo Itoh for his kind guidance and in his memory.
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S.W.H. designed the experiment and A.K. conducted the experiment. S.W.H. and J.Y. designed the microresonator. M.Y. and D.L.K. performed the device nanofabrication. S.W.H. and A.K. analyzed the data. S.W.H., A.K., and C.W.W. contributed to writing and revision of the manuscript.
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Vinod, A.K., Huang, SW., Yang, J. et al. Frequency microcomb stabilization via dualmicrowave control. Commun Phys 4, 81 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s42005021005739
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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s42005021005739
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