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Interlocking Kerr-microresonator frequency combs for microwave to optical synthesis

Abstract

We report accurate phase stabilization of an interlocking pair of Kerr-microresonator frequency combs. The two combs, one based on silicon nitride and one on silica, feature nearly harmonic repetition frequencies and can be generated with one laser. The silicon-nitride comb supports an ultrafast-laser regime with three-optical-cycle, 1-picosecond-period soliton pulses and a total dispersive-wave-enhanced bandwidth of 170 THz, while providing a stable phase-link between optical and microwave frequencies. We demonstrate nanofabrication control of the silicon-nitride comb’s carrier-envelope offset frequency and spectral profile. The phase-locked combs coherently reproduce their clock with a fractional precision of <6×1013/τ, a behavior we verified through 2 h of measurement to reach <3×1016. Our work establishes Kerr combs as a viable technology for applications like optical-atomic timekeeping and optical synchronization.

© 2018 Optical Society of America

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