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An optoelectronic oscillator (OEO) is a microwave photonic system that produces microwave signals with ultralow phase noise using a high-quality-factor optical energy storage element. This type of oscillator is desired in various practical applications, such as communication links, signal processing, radar, metrology, radio astronomy, and reference clock distribution. Recently, new mode control and selection methods based on Fourier domain mode-locking and parity-time symmetry have been proposed and experimentally demonstrated in OEOs, which overcomes the long-existing mode building time and mode selection problems in a traditional OEO. Due to these mode control and selection methods, continuously chirped microwave waveforms can be generated directly from the OEO cavity and single-mode operation can be achieved without the need of ultranarrowband filters, which are not possible in a traditional OEO. Integrated OEOs with a compact size and low power consumption have also been demonstrated, which are key steps toward a new generation of compact and versatile OEOs for demanding applications. We review recent progress in the field of OEOs, with particular attention to new mode control and selection methods, as well as chip-scale integration of OEOs.
Optical vortices, which carry orbital angular momentum, offer special capabilities in a host of applications. A single-laser source with dual-beam-mode output may open up new research fields of nonlinear optics and quantum optics. We demonstrate a dual-channel scheme to generate femtosecond, dual-wavelength, and dual-beam-mode tunable signals in the near infrared wavelength range. Dual-wavelength operation is derived by stimulating two adjacent periods of a periodically poled lithium niobate crystal. Pumped by an Yb-doped fiber laser with a Gaussian (lp = 0) beam, two tunable signal emissions with different beam modes are observed simultaneously. Although one of the emissions can be tuned from 1520 to 1613 nm with the Gaussian (ls = 0) beam, the other is capable of producing a vortex spatial profile with different vortex orders (ls = 0 to 2) tunable from 1490 to 1549 nm. The proposed system provides unprecedented freedom and will be an exciting platform for super-resolution imaging, nonlinear optics, multidimensional quantum entanglement, etc.
Dispersion engineering of optical waveguides is among the most important steps in enabling the realization of Kerr optical frequency combs. A recurring problem is the limited bandwidth in which the nonlinear phase matching condition is satisfied, due to the dispersion of the waveguide. This limitation is particularly stringent in high-index-contrast technologies such as silicon-on-insulator. We propose a general approach to stretch the bandwidth of Kerr frequency combs based on subwavelength engineering of single-mode waveguides with self-adaptive boundaries. The wideband flattened dispersion operation comes from the particular property of the waveguide optical mode that automatically self-adapts its spatial profile at different wavelengths to slightly different effective spatial spans determined by its effective index values. This flattened dispersion relies on the squeezing of small normal-dispersion regions between two anomalous spectral zones, which enables it to achieve two Cherenkov radiation points and substantially broaden the comb, achieving a bandwidth between 2.2 and 3.4 μm wavelength. This strategy opens up a design space for trimming the spectra of Kerr frequency combs using high-index-contrast platforms and can provide benefits to various nonlinear applications in which the manipulation of energy spacing and phase matching are pivotal.
Rabi oscillation, an interband oscillation, describes periodic motion between two states that belong to different energy levels, in the presence of an oscillatory driving field. In photonics, Rabi oscillations can be mimicked by applying a weak longitudinal periodic modulation to the refractive index. However, the Rabi oscillations of nonlinear states have yet to be introduced. We report the Rabi oscillations of azimuthons—spatially modulated vortex solitons—in weakly nonlinear waveguides with different symmetries. The period of the Rabi oscillations can be determined by applying the coupled mode theory, which largely depends on the modulation strength. Whether the Rabi oscillations between two states can be obtained or not is determined by the spatial symmetry of the azimuthons and the modulating potential. Our results not only deepen the understanding of the Rabi oscillation phenomena, but also provide a new avenue in the study of pattern formation and spatial field manipulation in nonlinear optical systems.