Nonlinear Optics In Nanophotonic Structures
Photonic structures such as photonic bandgap fibers and high confinement nanowaveguides have proven to be excellent platforms for studying nonlinear optical interactions tailored towards applications in spectroscopy, quantum communication, quantum computation protocols, optical clockwork and precision frequency metrology. This thesis discusses our approach towards exploiting these high confinement media for demonstrating novel few photon nonlinear optical interactions such as two-photon absorption and cross-phase modulation in hot atomic vapors (Rubidium) confined inside hollow-core photonic bandgap fibers (PBGF), generating ultra-broadband optical frequency combs that utilize cascaded parametric four-wave mixing and mode-locked femtosecond pulses in silicon nitride nanowaveguides. We generate large optical depths in such a Rb-PBGF system, and the tight light confinement, high vapor density and long interaction length allow us to perform nonlinear optics at ultralow power. We observe 25% all-optical modulation with <20 photons, i.e., a few attojoules of energy, and large cross-phase shifts of 0.3 mrad per photon with a response time <5 ns in Rb-filled PBGF. This result takes us to within an order of magnitude of single-photon switching, and improves upon previous experiments for freely propagating optical fields, including those in cold-atoms. Using high quality factor silicon nitride optical microcavities we show that the gain from the four-wave mixing process can lead to optical parametric os- cillation, allowing for the generation of multiple new wavelengths as wide as an octave of wavelengths. Next we show that by dispersion engineering the waveguide dimensions, we can generate combs by pumping at 1064 nm. The advantage of this platform is that we can independently tune the free spectral range (FSR) and the dispersion. We exploit this property of the silicon nitride microresonator platform to generate microcombs with various FSRs such as 20, 40-, 80-,100-GHz. Next we go on to characterize the spectral and temporal dynamics of the microresonator based combs and demonstrate that such parametric frequency combs can generate modelocked ultra-short pulses.
Nonlinear optics; Nanophotonics; Atomic physics
Gaeta, Alexander L.; Mueller, Erich; Lipson, Michal
Ph. D., Physics
Doctor of Philosophy
dissertation or thesis