Design of Triply-Resonant Microphotonic Parametric Oscillators Based on Kerr Nonlinearity

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Summer 6-30-2014

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Optics Express





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We propose optimal designs for triply-resonant optical parametric oscillators (OPOs) based on degenerate four-wave mixing (FWM) in microcavities. We show that optimal designs in general call for different external coupling to pump and signal/idler resonances. We provide a number of normalized performance metrics including threshold pump power and maximum achievable conversion efficiency for OPOs with and without two-photon (TPA) and free-carrier absorption (FCA). We find that the maximum achievable conversion efficiency is bound to an upper limit by nonlinear and free-carrier losses independent of pump power, while linear losses only increase the pump power required to achieve a certain conversion efficiency. The results of this work suggest unique advantages in on-chip implementations that allow explicit engineering of resonances, mode field overlaps, dispersion, and wavelength-and mode-selective coupling. We provide universal design curves that yield optimum designs, and give example designs of microring-resonator-based OPOs in silicon at the wavelengths 1.55 μm (with TPA) and 2.3 μm (no TPA) as well as in silicon nitride (Si3N4) at 1.55 μm. For typical microcavity quality factor of 106, we show that the oscillation threshold in excitation bus can be well into the sub-mW regime for silicon microrings and a few mW for silicon nitride microrings. The conversion efficiency can be a few percent when pumped at 10 times of the threshold. Next, based on our results, we suggest a family of synthetic “photonic molecule”-like, coupled-cavity systems to implement optimum FWM, where structure design for control of resonant wavelengths can be separated from that of optimizing nonlinear conversion efficiency, and where furthermore pump, signal, and idler coupling to bus waveguides can be controlled independently, using interferometric cavity supermode coupling as an example. Finally, consideration of these complex geometries calls for a generalization of the nonlinear figure of merit (NFOM) as a metric for performance in nonlinear photonic systems, and shows different efficiencies for single and multi-cavity geometries, as well as for standing and traveling wave excitations.

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