Photonics Research
Yun-Feng Xiao; Kartik Srinivasan; Pascal Del’Haye; Mengjie Yu
Vol. , Issue , 2023
Editor(s): Yun-Feng Xiao; Kartik Srinivasan; Pascal Del’Haye; Mengjie Yu
Year: 2023
Status: Published

Guest Editors

Yun-Feng Xiao

Peking University, China (Lead Editor)


Kartik Srinivasan

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), USA


Pascal Del’Haye

Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light, Germany


Mengjie Yu

University of Southern California, USA


On the Cover of the virtual issue

Deformed shape microcavity lasers based on transformation optics are demonstrated for the first time, which exploit whispering gallery modes (WGMs) free from Q-degradation. Q spoiling caused by the boundary shape deformation is recovered by spatially varying nanohole density distribution.

Contents 13 article(s)
Optical Microresonators feature issue introduction
Yun-Feng Xiao, Kartik Srinivasan, Pascal Del’Haye, and Mengjie Yu

We give an introduction to the feature issue composed of twelve articles on Optical Microresonators.

Photonics Research
Nov. 24, 2023, Vol. 11 Issue 12 OM1 (2023)
Noise canceled graphene-microcavity fiber laser sensor for ultrasensitive gas detection
Yuchen Wang, Yiwei Li, Yicheng Li, Hao Zhang, Zihan Liu, Yanhong Guo, Zeping Wang, Jun He, Xuhan Guo, Yiping Wang, and Baicheng Yao

Optical microcavities offer a promising platform for highly efficient light–matter interactions. Recently, the combination of microresonators and 2D materials in the nanoscale has further enriched the optoelectronics of microcavity geometries, spurring broad advances including lasers, nonlinear converters, modulators, and sensors. Here, we report the concept of compact dual-laser cogeneration in a graphene-microcavity fiber, which offers a way to cancel the optical common mode noises. Driven by a single 980 nm pump, orthogonally polarized laser lines are generated in a pair of degeneracy breaking modes. The two laser lines produce a heterodyne beat note at 118.96 MHz, with frequency noise down to 200 Hz2/Hz at 1 MHz offset, demonstrating a linewidth of 930 Hz in vacuum. This compact device enables on-line and label-free NH3 gas detection with high resolution, realizing a detection limit on a single pmol/L level, and a capability to quantitatively trace gas–graphene interactions. Such a combination of graphene optoelectronics and microcavity photonics demonstrates a novel physical paradigm for microlaser control and offers a new scheme for in situ chemical sensing.

Photonics Research
Jul. 20, 2023, Vol. 11 Issue 8 A1 (2023)
Mitigating fast thermal instability by engineered laser sweep in AlN soliton microcomb generation
Kewei Liu, Zihao Wang, Shunyu Yao, Yanan Guo, Jianchang Yan, Junxi Wang, Changxi Yang, and Chengying Bao

Transient thermal instability represents a significant challenge in generating soliton microcombs. Fast laser sweep can be an efficient method to mitigate thermal instability, but it requires an ultrahigh laser sweep rate for crystalline microresonators with fast thermal relaxation. Here, we engineer a laser sweep waveform to generate AlN-on-sapphire soliton microcombs with an intermediate sweep speed (<30 GHz/μs). Two laser sweep methods with backward plus forward tuning or two-step backward tuning added after the fast forward laser sweep were demonstrated to stabilize solitons. Reducing the soliton number is found to be useful to stabilize solitons in fast laser sweep. The effectiveness of the methods was numerically verified. Our measurements and simulations also reveal the impacts of different thermal relaxation processes occurring at quite different time scales on thermal instability. The requirement of the laser sweep protocols is discussed.

Photonics Research
Aug. 01, 2023, Vol. 11 Issue 8 A10 (2023)
Structural characterization of thin-walled microbubble cavities
Mohammed Zia Jalaludeen, Shilong Li, Ke Tian, Toshio Sasaki, and Síle Nic Chormaic

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) microbubble cavities are a versatile optofluidic sensing platform owing to their hollow core geometry. To increase the light–matter interaction and, thereby, achieve higher sensitivity, thin-walled microbubbles are desirable. However, a lack of knowledge about the precise geometry of hollow microbubbles prevents us from having an accurate theoretical model to describe the WGMs and their response to external stimuli. In this work, we provide a complete characterization of the wall structure of a microbubble and propose a theoretical model for the WGMs in this thin-walled microcavity based on the optical waveguide approach. Structural characterization of the wavelength-scale wall is enabled by focused ion beam milling and scanning electron microscopy imaging. The proposed theoretical model is verified by finite element method simulations. Our approach can readily be extended to other low-dimensional micro-/nanophotonic structures.

Photonics Research
Aug. 01, 2023, Vol. 11 Issue 8 A19 (2023)
Optomechanical preparation of photon number-squeezed states with a pair of thermal reservoirs of opposite temperatures
Baiqiang Zhu, Keye Zhang, and Weiping Zhang

Photon number-squeezed states are of significant value in fundamental quantum research and have a wide range of applications in quantum metrology. Most of their preparation mechanisms require precise control of quantum dynamics and are less tolerant to dissipation. We propose a mechanism that is not subject to these restraints. In contrast to common approaches, we exploit the self-balancing between two types of dissipation induced by positive- and negative-temperature reservoirs to generate steady states with sub-Poissonian statistical distributions of photon numbers. We also show how to implement this mechanism with cavity optomechanical systems. The quality of the prepared photon number-squeezed state is estimated by our theoretical model combined with realistic parameters for various typical optomechanical systems.

Photonics Research
Aug. 22, 2023, Vol. 11 Issue 9 A26 (2023)
Shape-tailored whispering gallery microcavity lasers designed by transformation opticsOn the Cover
Yong-Hoon Lee, Honghwi Park, Inbo Kim, Sang-Jun Park, Sunghwan Rim, Byoung Jun Park, Moohyuk Kim, Yushin Kim, Myung-Ki Kim, Won Seok Han, Hosung Kim, Hongsik Park, and Muhan Choi

Semiconductor microdisk lasers have great potential as low-threshold, high-speed, and small-form-factor light sources required for photonic integrated circuits because of their high-Q factors associated with long-lived whispering gallery modes (WGMs). Despite these advantages, the rotational symmetry of the disk shape restricts practical applications of the photonic devices because of their isotropic emission, which lacks directionality in far-field emission and difficulty in free-space out coupling. To overcome this problem, deformation of the disk cavity has been mainly attempted. However, the approach cannot avoid significant Q degradation owing to the broken rotational symmetry. Here, we first report a deformed shape microcavity laser based on transformation optics, which exploits WGMs free from Q degradation. The deformed cavity laser was realized by a spatially varying distribution of deep-sub-wavelength-scale (60 nm diameter) nanoholes in an InGaAsP-based multi-quantum-well heterostructure. The lasing threshold of our laser is one-third of that of the same shaped homogeneous laser and quite similar to that of a homogeneous microdisk laser. The results mean that Q spoiling caused by the boundary shape deformation is recovered by spatially varying nanohole density distribution designed by transformation optics and effective medium approximation.

Photonics Research
Aug. 28, 2023, Vol. 11 Issue 9 A35 (2023)
Soliton microcomb-assisted microring photonic thermometer with ultra-high resolution and broad range
Cheng Zhang, Jin Wang, Guoguo Kang, Jianxin Gao, Zhier Qu, Shuai Wan, Chunhua Dong, Yijie Pan, and Jifeng Qu

Whispering gallery mode resonators (WGMRs) have proven their advantages in terms of sensitivity and precision in various sensing applications. However, when high precision is pursued, the WGMR demands a high-quality factor usually at the cost of its free spectral range (FSR) and corresponding measurement range. In this article, we propose a high-resolution and wide-range temperature sensor based on chip-scale WGMRs, which utilizes a Si3N4 ring resonator as the sensing element and a MgF2-based microcomb as a broadband frequency reference. By measuring the beatnote signal of the WGM and microcomb, the ultra-high resolution of 58 micro-Kelvin (μK) was obtained. To ensure high resolution and broad range simultaneously, we propose an ambiguity-resolving method based on the gradient of feedback voltage and combine it with a frequency-locking technique. In a proof-of-concept experiment, a wide measurement range of 45 K was demonstrated. Our soliton comb-assisted temperature measurement method offers high-resolution and wide-range capabilities, with promising advancements in various sensing applications.

Photonics Research
Sep. 21, 2023, Vol. 11 Issue 10 A44 (2023)
Higher-order exceptional points in waveguide-coupled microcavities: perturbation induced frequency splitting and mode patterns
Julius Kullig, Daniel Grom, Sebastian Klembt, and Jan Wiersig

Exceptional points are degeneracies in the spectrum of non-Hermitian open systems where at least two eigenfrequencies and simultaneously the corresponding eigenstates of the Hamiltonian coalesce. Especially, the robust construction of higher-order exceptional points with more than two degenerate eigenfrequencies and eigenstates is challenging but yet worthwhile for applications. In this paper, we reconsider the formation of higher-order exceptional points through waveguide-coupled microring cavities and asymmetric backscattering. In this context, we demonstrate the influence of perturbations on the frequency splitting of the system. To generate higher-order exceptional points in a simple and robust way, a mirror-induced asymmetric backscattering approach is used. In addition to the exceptional-point enhanced sensing capabilities of such systems, also a cavity-selective sensitivity is achieved for particle sensing. The results are motivated by an effective Hamiltonian description and verified by full numerical simulations of the dielectric structure.

Photonics Research
Oct. 01, 2023, Vol. 11 Issue 10 A54 (2023)
Whispering-gallery optical microprobe for photoacoustic imaging
Jialve Sun, Shui-Jing Tang, Jia-Wei Meng, and Changhui Li

Optical ultrasonic probes, exemplified by Fabry–Perot cavities on optical fibers, have small sizes, high sensitivity, and pure optical characteristics, making them highly attractive in high-resolution ultrasonic/photoacoustic imaging, especially in near-field or endoscopic scenarios. Taking a different approach, we demonstrate an ultrasensitive and broadband ultrasound microprobe formed by an optical whispering-gallery-mode polymer microcavity coupled to a U-shaped microfiber. With the high-quality (Q) factors (>106), the noise equivalent pressure of the ultrasound microprobe reaches 1.07 mPa/√Hz with a record broadband response of 150 MHz and a large detection angle of 180°. Our results show that this optical microprobe can overcome the strong decay resulting from ultrasound diverging and medium absorption through short working distances. We further demonstrate high-quality in vivo whole-body photoacoustic imaging of a zebrafish larva. Our implementation provides a new strategy for developing miniature ultrasound detectors and holds great potential for broad applications.

Photonics Research
Oct. 16, 2023, Vol. 11 Issue 11 A65 (2023)
Multi-mode microcavity frequency engineering through a shifted grating in a photonic crystal ringSpotlight on Optics
Xiyuan Lu, Yi Sun, Ashish Chanana, Usman A. Javid, Marcelo Davanco, and Kartik Srinivasan

Frequency engineering of whispering-gallery resonances is essential in microcavity nonlinear optics. The key is to control the frequencies of the cavity modes involved in the underlying nonlinear optical process to satisfy its energy conservation criterion. Compared to the conventional method that tailors dispersion by cross-sectional geometry, thereby impacting all cavity mode frequencies, grating-assisted microring cavities, often termed as photonic crystal microrings, provide more enabling capabilities through mode-selective frequency control. For example, a simple single period grating added to a microring has been used for single frequency engineering in Kerr optical parametric oscillation (OPO) and frequency combs. Recently, this approach has been extended to multi-frequency engineering by using multi-period grating functions, but at the cost of increasingly complex grating profiles that require challenging fabrication. Here, we demonstrate a simple approach, which we term as shifted grating multiple mode splitting (SGMMS), where spatial displacement of a single period grating imprinted on the inner boundary of the microring creates a rotational asymmetry that frequency splits multiple adjacent cavity modes. This approach is easy to implement and presents no additional fabrication challenges compared to an un-shifted grating, and yet is very powerful in providing multi-frequency engineering functionality for nonlinear optics. We showcase an example where SGMMS enables OPO across a wide range of pump wavelengths in a normal-dispersion device that otherwise would not support OPO.

Photonics Research
Oct. 26, 2023, Vol. 11 Issue 11 A72 (2023)
Experimental demonstration of high-Q MRR based on a germanium-on-insulator platform with an yttria insulator in the mid-IR range
Jinha Lim, Joonsup Shim, Inki Kim, and SangHyeon Kim

We experimentally demonstrate an all-pass microring resonator (MRR) based on a Y2O3 BOX germanium-on-insulator (GeOI) platform operating in the mid-IR region. The ring resonator was numerically designed to have a high quality (Q) factor in the 4.18 μm to 4.22 μm wavelength range in the fundamental TE mode. According to our design, the GeOI ring resonator was fabricated by the direct wafer-bonding technology with an yttria (Y2O3) buried oxide layer, which is transparent at the mid-IR region, for the bonding interface and the electron beam lithography. The experimental resonant characteristic was obtained using our fiber-based mid-IR measurement setup. The GeOI single MRR exhibited an extinction ratio (ER) of 15.28 dB and an insertion loss (IL) of 1.204 dB, and the racetrack showed an ER of 22.77 dB and an IL of 0.627 dB. Furthermore, the free spectral range of the device was 5.29 nm, and the loaded Q factor of 94,528 (176,158 of intrinsic Q factor) was extracted by the nonlinear least squares method. We believe this demonstration of our GeOI MRR offers a valuable opportunity to implement multipurpose devices such as optical sensors, switches, and filters in the mid-IR range.

Photonics Research
Nov. 01, 2023, Vol. 11 Issue 11 A80 (2023)
Detection of per- and polyfluoroalkyl water contaminants with a multiplexed 4D microcavities sensor
Anton V. Saetchnikov, Elina A. Tcherniavskaia, Vladimir A. Saetchnikov, and Andreas Ostendorf

The per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of organofluorine chemicals treated as the emerging pollutants that are currently of particularly acute concern. These compounds have been employed intensively as surfactants over multiple decades and are already to be found in surface and ground waters at amounts sufficient to have an effect on human health and ecosystems. Because of the carbon–fluorine bonds, the PFAS have an extreme environmental persistence and their negative impact accumulates with further production and penetration into the environment. In Germany alone, more than thousands of sites have been identified as contaminated with PFAS; thus, timely detection of PFAS residue is becoming a high priority. In this paper, we report on the high performance optical detection method based on whispering gallery mode (WGM) microcavities applied for the first time to detect PFAS contaminants in aqueous solutions. A self-sensing boosted 4D microcavity fabricated with two-photon polymerization is employed as an individual sensing unit. In an example of the multiplexed imaging sensor with multiple hundreds of simultaneously interrogated microcavities we demonstrate the possibility to detect the PFAS chemicals representatives at a level down to 1 ppb (parts per billion).

Photonics Research
Nov. 01, 2023, Vol. 11 Issue 11 A88 (2023)
Nonlinear dynamics in a circular-sided square microcavity laser
Jian-Cheng Li, Jin-Long Xiao, Yue-De Yang, You-Ling Chen, and Yong-Zhen Huang

Self-chaotic dual-mode and tri-mode microcavity lasers have been recently proposed and demonstrated for high-speed random number generation. Here, we report the characteristics of irregular pulse packages and self-chaos operation for a dual-mode circular-sided square microcavity laser. In addition to the mode interaction between the fundamental and first-order transverse modes, we observed irregular pulse packages due to the mode beating of near-degenerate modes for the first time to our best knowledge. Moreover, a successive route from periodic-one and periodic-three states to chaos is first experimentally illustrated by increasing injection current. The chaotic state is observed over a current range of 10 mA, and the maximum chaos effective bandwidth of 22.4 GHz is realized with a flatness of ±4 dB. Chaotic characteristics are also investigated for different longitudinal modes, which indicates that the self-chaotic microlaser can provide robust parallel chaotic outputs for practical application.

Photonics Research
Nov. 01, 2023, Vol. 11 Issue 11 A97 (2023)
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