Optical physics

Advanced Soliton Physics in Integrated Photonic Circuits

Krupamaya Panda
EC Lyon and USYD

Research Areas

Physics, Photonics, Nonlinear Optics

Project Brief

Optical solitons are wave packets that can propagate without changing shape. These pulses have underpinned numerous applications, ranging from telecommunications and spectroscopy to ultrashort pulse generation. Conventionally, solitons rely on the balance between the Kerr nonlinearity and negative second-order dispersion (β2 < 0) as it is the dominant dispersion effects in typical optical waveguides. However, the energy of such solitons is fundamentally capped by the soliton area theorem leaving important high-energy, nonlinear applications out of reach.

The USYD group has recently observed and generated a novel class of optical solitons, called pure-quartic soliton (PQS). Unlike conventional solitons, they arise from the interplay between Kerr nonlinearity and negative fourth-order dispersion (β4 < 0). Subsequent studies showed that PQSs can have substantially higher energy – by a few orders of magnitude, than conventional solitons, while offering the same coherence and stability.

This project aims to build on these recent discoveries, and to transfer this new physics of PQSs to integrated photonic platforms in the telecom band (~ 1.5 µm), i.e Microring resonators or dispersion engineered waveguides in Lithium Niobate or Si3N4 recently developed by INL/ CEA-Leti. The direct on-chip generation of high-energy pulses, by using the enhancement, inherent to PQSs, instead of adding technological complexity, could unlock new nonlinear capabilities in integrated photonics.