Intermode Breather Solitons in Optical Microresonators

Dissipative solitons can be found in a variety of systems resulting from the double balance between dispersion and nonlinearity, as well as gain and loss. Recently, they have been observed to spontaneously form in Kerr nonlinear microresonators driven by a continuous wave laser, providing a compact source of coherent optical frequency combs. As optical microresonators are commonly multimode, intermode interactions, which give rise to avoided mode crossings, frequently occur and can alter the soliton properties. Recent works have shown that avoided mode crossings cause the soliton to acquire a single-mode dispersive wave, a recoil in the spectrum, or lead to soliton decay. Here, we show that avoided mode crossings can also trigger the formation of breather solitons, solitons that undergo a periodic evolution in their amplitude and duration. This new breather soliton, referred to as an intermode breather soliton, occurs within a laser detuning range where conventionally stationary (i.e., stable) dissipative Kerr solitons are expected. We experimentally demonstrate the phenomenon in two microresonator platforms (crystalline magnesium fluoride and photonic chip-based silicon nitride microresonators) and theoretically describe the dynamics based on a pair of coupled Lugiato-Lefever equations. We show that the breathing is associated with a periodic energy exchange between the soliton and a second optical mode family, a behavior that can be modeled by a response function acting on dissipative solitons described by the Lugiato-Lefever model. The observation of breathing dynamics in the conventionally stable soliton regime is relevant to applications in metrology such as low-noise microwave generation, frequency synthesis, or spectroscopy.

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Physical Review X, 7, 4, 041055

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 Record created 2018-01-15, last modified 2020-10-27

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