Vahala

Research Group
Kerry Vahala
California Institute of Technology
1

Institute for Energy Efficiency
UCSB
November 6, 2013



Vahala Research Group
Numerous applications of High-Q optical resonators
Nonlinear optics, Microcombs, Cavity QED, Cavity Optomechanics, Biosensing!
Nature 2006 Nature Physics 2011
PNAS 2011
Nature Photonics 2009
2
Nature Photonics 2007 Nature Photonics 2009
PRL 2006 PRL 2007
Nature Physics 2008
Nature Physics 2009
Vahala Research Group
Outline
! Quick History & background
! Examples of nonlinear optical interactions

! Non reflow based cavity structures
-Microwave synthesis using SBS lasers
-Frequency microcombs
-Impact on low-loss delay lines
-Reference cavities for compact microwave sources

! Conclusion
Vahala Research Group
Resonant frequency and Q factor
! Q=100 million is a linewidth
of 2 MHz at 1.55 microns.
C
o
u
p
l
e
d

P
o
w
e
r

Frequency
!
!
"! =
!
m
!
m+1
!
m-1


1
Q
=
1
Q
o
+
1
Q
ext

P
input

I
circulation
Vahala Research Group
Early Work: Droplet resonators
! Surface tension smoothing of the dielectric boundary reduces scattering loss.
! Light is guided by total internal refraction in orbits forming an optical “whispering gallery”
High Q Optical
Droplet resonator (1985)
R. Chang (Yale)
A. Campillo (NRL)
Silica Microsphere (1989)
Orbiting
lightwave
V. Braginsky, M. Gorodetsky, V Ilchenko
Vahala Research Group
Silica microspheres
Silica Microsphere Resonators
Q = 10 Billion


Key publications:
! Braginsky, V. B., Gorodetsky, M. L. & Ilchenko, V.
S. Phys. Lett. A 137 (1989)
! Gorodetsky, M. L., Savchenkov, A. A.
& Ilchenko, V. S. Opt. Lett. 21 (1996)
! Vernooy, D. W., Ilchenko, V. S., Mabuchi, H.,
Streed, E. W. & Kimble, H. J. Opt. Lett. 23 (1998)
! Silica microspheres: Q’s of nearly 10 billion by late 1990s
! Interest was driven primarily by cavity QED
Vahala Research Group
Nonlinear Optics at milli-Watt cw Power Levels

P
input

I
circulation

I
circulation
=
c
V
P
input
t
t + !
dt" #
Q
V
c
$
P
input
V = 500 µm
3
(50 µm dia. sphere)
Q = 10
8

I
circ
= 3 GWatts/cm
2
(1 mWatt input)
Vahala Research Group
Optical nonlinearities: Raman amplification & lasing

P
input

I
circulation
Spillane, Kippenberg, Vahala,
Nature Feb 7, 2002.
P
Raman
Cascaded oscillation Low threshold cw oscillation
Vahala Research Group
From microspheres to chip-based microtoroids
1. Grudinin, I. S., Matsko, A. B. & Maleki, L.
Optics Express 15, (2007).
2. Grudinin, I. S., Ilchenko, V. S. & Maleki, L.
Phys. Rev. A 74, 063806 (2006).
3. Savchenkov, A. A., Matsko, A. B., Ilchenko,
V. S. & Maleki, L. Optics Express 15, 6768–
6773 (2007). 1748–1750 (2007).
Crystalline Resonators
>100 billion Q factor
D. K. Armani, T. J. Kippenberg, S. M. Spillane,
and K. J. Vahala, Nature 421, 925 (2003).
>100 million Q factor
10,000-fold Q-boost
Vahala Research Group
Microtoroid fabrication on a silicon chip
! Final step in process is adapted from silica microsphere fabrication
m µ 50
(a)
(b) (c) (d)
Vahala Research Group
Final Step: Laser reflow smoothing boosts the Q factor
(c)  (d) 
Features of laser reflow step:
• Smoothing of dielectric interface to boost resonator Q factor
• Negligible impact on silicon
• Resonator boundary retreats from original position
(precise size control challenging)
• Reflow is challenging at larger diameters (>1mm)
(microwave-rate FSR is challenging)
Vahala Research Group
Outline
! Quick History & background
! Examples of nonlinear optical interactions

! Non reflow based cavity structures
-Microwave synthesis using SBS lasers
-Frequency microcombs
-Impact on low-loss delay lines
-Reference cavities for compact microwave sources

! Conclusion
Vahala Research Group
Cavity QED & Quantum Optics
Nature, October 12, 2006
Vahala Research Group
Third Harmonic Generation
! Phase matching of infrared to visible is possible
Infrared
photons
Visible photon
1µm
Infrared
photons
Visible photon
Run the process in both
directions
Carmon, Vahala, Nature Physics 2007
Vahala Research Group
Optical Parametric Oscillation
T.J. Kippenberg, S.M. Spillane, K.J. Vahala, Physical Review Letters, August (2004).
Two, pump photons create signal and idler amplification (degenerate FWM)
Pump
Signal
Idler
Vahala Research Group
Outline
! Quick History & background
! Examples of nonlinear optical interactions

! Non reflow based cavity structures
-Microwave synthesis using SBS lasers
-Frequency microcombs
-Impact on low-loss delay lines
-Reference cavities for compact microwave sources

! Conclusion
Vahala Research Group
Microtoroids: Laser reflow smoothing boosts the Q factor
(c)  (d) 
Features of laser reflow step:
• Smoothing of dielectric interface to boost resonator Q factor
• Negligible impact on silicon
• Resonator boundary retreats from original position
(precise size control challenging)
• Reflow is challenging at larger diameters (>1mm)
(microwave-rate FSR is challenging)
Vahala Research Group
Control of resonator dimension is very difficult
(c)  (d) 
Features of laser reflow step:
• Smoothing of dielectric interface to boost resonator Q factor
• Negligible impact on silicon
• Resonator boundary retreats from original position
(precise size control challenging)
• Reflow is challenging at larger diameters (>1mm)
(microwave-rate FSR is challenging)
Vahala Research Group
Can reflow be eliminated using only chemical polishing?
Features of laser reflow step:
(a)
(b) (c) (d)
Chemical etch
Vahala Research Group
Q factor of nearly 1 billion possible
! Optical Q measurement
" 1550nm signal wavelength
" Excellent size control and uniformity
Measured@ slightly overcoupled condition
20
Maximum Q: 875M
Hansuek Lee, Tong Chen, Jiang Li, Kiyoul Yang, Seokmin Jeon, Oksar Painter, Kerry Vahala,
“Chemically Etched Ultra-high-Q wedge-resonator on a silicon chip”, Nature Photonics, May 2012
Vahala Research Group
Outline
! Quick History & background
! Examples of nonlinear optical interactions

! Non reflow based cavity structures
-Microwave synthesis using SBS lasers
-Frequency microcombs
-Impact on low-loss delay lines
-Reference cavities for compact microwave sources

! Conclusion
Vahala
Research Group
Vahala group
Grudinin, I. S.; Matsko A. & Maleki, L., Phys. Rev. Lett, 2009
Tomes M. & Carmon T, Phys. Rev. Lett, 2009
Silica microsphere from optical fiber
Micro-machined Calcium Flouride
Recent SBS laser demonstrations
(Also see early work in droplets: Zhang & Chang, JOSA B (1989))
Principal challenge is matching to a relatively narrow Brillouin gain spectrum
Frequency
Microcavity FSR X m
Pump
Stokes Wave
Brillouin Shift (approx. 10 GHz)
Gain spectrum
" 50 MHz spectral width
Applications - SBS microlasers
Vahala
Research Group
Pump SBS Gain spectrum
Precise matching of Brillouin shift and FSR
Stimulated Brillouin Scattering process in the high Q cavity
SBS Frequency Shift
(~10.8GHz @ SiO
2
)
Resonant mode
FSR
Resonator
size control
SBS-induced
gain & lasing
~10.8GHz
Bandwidth
~30MHz
FSR FSR
Resonant mode
23
H. Lee, T. Chen, J. Li, O. Painter, K. Vahala, Nature Photonics. May (2012)
J. Li, H. Lee, T. Chen, K. Vahala, Optics Express, August 27, 2012
5960 5980 6000 6020 6040 6060
10.7
10.75
10.8
10.85
10.9
10.95
Diameter (
µ
m)
F
S
R

(
G
H
z
)


experimental value
inverse fit
F
r
e
e

S
p
e
c
t
r
a
l

R
a
n
g
e

(
G
H
z
)

Resonator diameter on CAD file (!m)

"
FSR
# 2.4 MHz
(#0.02% of FSR)
Vahala
Research Group
24
P. Lee, 1. Chen, !. Ll, k. ?ang, S. !eon, C. ÞalnLer and k. !. vahala, !"#$%& ()*#*+,-. !, 369-372 (2012)
5960 5980 6000 6020 6040 6060
10.7
10.75
10.8
10.85
10.9
10.95
Diameter (
µ
m)
F
S
R

(
G
H
z
)


experimental value
inverse fit
F
r
e
e

S
p
e
c
t
r
a
l

R
a
n
g
e

(
G
H
z
)

Resonator diameter on CAD file (!m)

"
FSR
# 2.4 MHz
(#0.02% of FSR)
Lithographic control of FSR
Vahala
Research Group
Schawlow-Townes linewidth of the Brillouin laser [1,2]:
[1] H. Lee, T. Chen, J. Li, K. Yang, S. Jeon, O. Painter and K. J. Vahala, Nat. Photon. 6, 369--373 (2012).
[2] J. Li, H. Lee, T. Chen, and K. J. Vahala, Opt. Exp. 20, 20170-20180 (2012).
S-T noise varies inverse quadratic with Q factor and inversely with power.
0.06 Hz
2
/Hz minimum ST
frequency noise
!"#"$" &'()*+
Fundamental frequency noise (Schawlow-Townes Noise)
Lowest frequency noise of any
chip-based laser [1]
Vahala
Research Group
Schawlow-Townes linewidth of the Brillouin laser [2]:
[1] H. Lee, T. Chen, J. Li, K. Yang, S. Jeon, O. Painter and K. J. Vahala, Nat. Photon. 6, 369--373 (2012).
[2] J. Li, H. Lee, T. Chen, and K. J. Vahala, Opt. Exp. 20, 20170-20180 (2012).
Eq. (1) is used to extract the number of the
thermal quanta based on measurement of
the ST-linewidth of the Brillouin laser:

n
T
~ 580 (measurement)
~ 569 (theory)
S-T noise varies inverse quadratic with Q factor and inversely with power.
0.06 Hz
2
/Hz minimum ST
frequency noise
!"#"$" &'()*+
Fundamental frequency noise (Schawlow-Townes Noise)
Vahala
Research Group
Microwave generation from SBS
Frequency
Pump 1 Stokes Wave 1 Stokes Wave 2 Pump 2
"
Dual pump operation (tunable)
Frequency
Pump 1 Stokes Wave 1 Stokes Wave 2
"
Cascaded operation (only one pump is required)
Callahan, P. T., Gross, M. C. & Dennis, M. L. Frequency

independent phase

noise in a
dual-wavelength Brillouin fiber laser. IEEE J. Quantum Electron. 47,1142 (2011).

High level of common mode noise rejection in microwave signal
Vahala
Research Group
Stokes 1-3 for 22 GHz Operation
Frequency
Pump 1 Stokes Wave 1 Stokes Wave 3
"
13
Odd-Odd or Even-Even order operation simplifies operation
Stokes Wave 2
1554 1554.5 1555
-70
-60
-50
-40
-30
-20
-10
! (nm)

B
r
i
l
l
o
u
i
n

l
a
s
e
r

s
p
e
c
t
r
u
m

(
r
e
l
a
t
i
v
e

p
o
w
e
r

i
n

d
B
)
Stokes Order: 1
pump
7
8 9
2
3
5
6
4
SBS Cascade

-100 -50 0 50 100
-100
-80
-60
-40
-20
0
offset frequency (kHz)
P
o
w
e
r

(
d
B
m
)
21.7 GHz beat frequency
Vahala
Research Group
Optical VCO within a frequency synthesizer
Optical Voltage Controlled
Oscillator (Optical VCO)
Phase lock loop control by
reference to a low-frequency
RF oscillator
Cascaded Brillouin lasers from one
cavity:
# common-mode noise rejection
(same cavity and fiber path)
# low ST noise for low microwave
phase noise
~6mm
Vahala
Research Group
Microwave phase noise at 22 GHz is comparable
to Agilent signal sources (between PSG 20GHz
and MXG 20 GHz)
High performance microwave generation
J. Li, H. Lee, K. Vahala, Nature Communications (2013)
Vahala
Research Group
Frequency synthesis from 1MHz to 22 GHz
lrequency dlvlslon
Þhase nolse drop d8
Vahala
Research Group
Electrical Phase noise rises with
frequency because of increasing
electrical loss
Phase noise by optical synthesis is independent
of frequency and determined by the laser
Schawlow-Townes noise
J. Li, H. Lee, T. Chen, and K. J. Vahala, Opt. Exp. 20, 20170-20180
(2012).
Scaling: Optical phase noise vs. Electrical phase noise
Integrated oscillators
(Khanna, Microwave J. 2006)
Vahala Research Group
Outline
! Quick History & background
! Examples of nonlinear optical interactions

! Non reflow based cavity structures
-Microwave synthesis using SBS lasers
-Frequency microcombs
-Impact on low-loss delay lines
-Reference cavities for compact microwave sources

! Conclusion
Vahala Research Group
Optical Parametric Oscillation
T.J. Kippenberg, S.M. Spillane, K.J. Vahala, Physical Review Letters, August (2004).
Two, pump photons create signal and idler amplification (degenerate FWM)
Pump
Signal
Idler
Vahala Research Group
Frequency comb generation on a chip
Degenerate
Non-degenerate
Kippenberg group
35
! Uses a combination of OPO and FWM in a microresonator
! T. Kippenberg, Nature 2007.
! Can potentially miniaturize frequency comb technology
Microcombs
Microcombs
Vahala Research Group
Frequency Combs: Background
! Optical frequency metrology tool (“optical ruler”)
! Optical to microwave frequency divider
! 2005 Nobel Prize in Physics (Ted Hänsch, John Hall)
Vahala Research Group
Microcomb resonator geometries
SiN ring
-Gaeta/Cornell
Fused Quartz
-Papp and Diddams/NIST
Crystalline MgF2/CaF2
-Maleki JPL/OEwaves
Silica microtoroid:
-Kippenberg EPFL
Vahala Research Group
Low-threshold, microwave-rate combs
1300 1330 1600
-60
-30
-40
-30
-20
-10
0
10


Þ
o
w
e
r

(
d
8
m
)
WavelengLh (nm)
Þ ump Þ ower 7.3mW
!"#$ !"#" !"#% !""!
&"'
&#'
&('
&$'
&!'
'
!'


*+,-.-/012 3/45
Near threshold Increased pumping
Vahala Research Group
Growth of comb lines with increased pumping
! > 2000 comb lines at 200 mW coupled optical power
J. Li, H. Lee, K Vahala, Phys. Rev. Lett. 2012
Vahala Research Group
Outline
! Quick History & background
! Examples of nonlinear optical interactions

! Non reflow based cavity structures
-Microwave synthesis using SBS lasers
-Frequency microcombs
-Impact on low-loss delay lines
-Reference cavities for compact microwave sources

! Conclusion
Vahala Research Group
Background: Chemical smoothing etch for low-loss waveguides
41
Maximum Q: 875M
! Q factor can be converted to waveguide loss
! Higher Q is equivalent to lower waveguide loss

Vahala Research Group
Background: Chemical smoothing etch for low-loss waveguides
42
Waveguide loss calculated from resonator Q
! Q factor can be converted to waveguide loss
! Higher Q is equivalent to lower waveguide loss

0.03 dB/m
Vahala Research Group
Broadband low loss waveguides
7 meter length
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
-124
-122
-120
-118
-116
Length(m)
A
m
p
l
i
t
u
d
e
(
d
B
/
m
m
)


Original OBR Data
Linear Fit
Output Facet
Input Facet
Minimum loss: 0.05dB/m
43
Lee, Chen, Li, Vahala, Nature Communications, June 2012
Vahala Research Group
Cascaded Spiral <0.1dB/m loss over 27m delay
~9.5cm
44
Lee, Chen, Li, Vahala, Nature Communications, June 2012
Vahala Research Group
Outline
! Quick History & background
! Examples of nonlinear optical interactions

! Non reflow based cavity structures
-Microwave synthesis using SBS lasers
-Frequency microcombs
-Impact on low-loss delay lines
-Reference cavities for compact microwave sources

! Conclusion
Vahala Research Group
Background: New approach to microwave generation:
Optical Frequency Division
"#$#%#&'# ')*+,-
./01&/+2# 3)2#% 4%#56#&'- '/78
Fourtier et. al., Nature Photonics (2011)
Lowest phase noise microwaves are now generated by
purely optical means!
Vahala Research Group
Background on Reference Cavities
Jun Ye Group,
JILA
Stable Laser Systems
Can we make more compact reference cavities?
Many microcavity systems being studied for comb generation
OEWaves,
JPL, EPFL,
MPQ
Caltech,
EPFL
Cornell, Purdue Caltech NIST
Rel. Adev. 1x10
-16
@ 400 ms
Vahala Research Group
Fundamental limits of Noise in Solid-State Resonators
(Reference)
[1] A. B. Matsko et al., "Whispering-gallery-mode resonators as frequency references. I. Fundamental limitations“, J.
Opt. Soc. Am. B 24, 1324 (2007).
[2] Gorodetsky et al., “Fundamental thermal fluctuations in microspheres”. J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 21, 697-705 (2004).
Power Spectral Density of the thermo-refractive frequency noise
Sources of thermal noise:
- Thermorefractive,
- Thermoelastic,
- !.

Sources of external noise:
- Photothermal (pump noise)
- Thermal drift induced by the environment

Vahala Research Group
Fundamental limits of Noise in Solid-State Resonators
(Reference)
[1] A. B. Matsko et al., "Whispering-gallery-mode resonators as frequency references. I. Fundamental limitations“, J.
Opt. Soc. Am. B 24, 1324 (2007).
[2] Gorodetsky et al., “Fundamental thermal fluctuations in microspheres”. J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 21, 697-705 (2004).
Power Spectral Density of the thermo-refractive frequency noise
OEwaves,
JPL, MPQ
MgF
2

J. Alnis et al., "Thermal-noise-limited crystalline
whispering gallery-mode resonator for laser
stabilization," Physical Review A 84, 011804 (2011).
By virtue of the low dn/dT of MgF
2
a Rel. Adev. of
6x10
-14
@ 100 ms demonstrated for MgF
2
at MPQ


Vahala Research Group
Fundamental limits of Noise in Solid-State Resonators
(Reference)
[1] A. B. Matsko et al., "Whispering-gallery-mode resonators as frequency references. I. Fundamental limitations“, J.
Opt. Soc. Am. B 24, 1324 (2007).
[2] Gorodetsky et al., “Fundamental thermal fluctuations in microspheres”. J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 21, 697-705 (2004).
Power Spectral Density of the thermo-refractive frequency noise
Adapt silica-on-silicon wedge process to create
large mode volume resonators:
- Reduce thermorefractive noise
- Higher SNR possible for locking
(reduced photothermal noise)
- Suppressed thermomechanical noise

Vahala Research Group
Approach to on-chip reference cavity
Ultra-high-Q
on-chip resonator
Ultra-low-loss
spiral delay line
High stability ultra-high-Q
reference cavity
Properties:
- High Q factor
- Long path length (> 1m)
for noise averaging
- Large mode volume to improve
immunity to photo-thermal noise
Lee, Suh, Chen, Li, Diddams, Vahala, Nature Communications, Sept 17, 2013
Vahala Research Group
Measured Q factor versus resonator length in meters
• Maximum Q of 140 million obtained to date using a 1.2m long design
• Have not yet employed stepper lithography (expected to boost Q value)
Inset: Q = 103 M
Blue curve: 0.15
dB/m waveguide
loss, 0.02 dB
coupling loss
Vahala Research Group
Measurement setup: Independently locked fiber lasers
Vahala Research Group
Linewidth of the fiber laser beatnote: free running vs. locked
Apparent linewidth reduced from 1 kHz to 70 Hz
Lee, Suh, Chen, Li, Diddams, Vahala, Nature Communications, Sept 17, 2013
Vahala Research Group
Allan deviation: free running vs. locked
Lee, Suh, Chen, Li, Diddams, Vahala, Nature Communications, Sept 17, 2013
Vahala Research Group
Phase Noise Spectra
Lee, Suh, Chen, Li, Diddams, Vahala, Nature Communications, Sept 17, 2013
Vahala Research Group
Acknowledgement
Hansuek Lee
Tong Chen
Jiang Li
Myoung-Gyun Suh

Caltech 
Scott Diddams
Scott Papp
NIST (Boulder) 
Supported by DARPA
KNI (Kavli Nanoscience Institute)
Vahala Research Group
Summary
58
Spiral cavities
Microtoroids
Disks Delay Lines
Vahala Research Group
Summary
59
Spiral cavities
Disks
SBS for
microwave
generation
Frequency
combs
Reference
cavities

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