Mid-infrared frequency comb via coherent dispersive wave generation in silicon nitride nanophotonic waveguides

Mid-infrared optical frequency combs are of significant interest for molecular spectroscopy due to the large absorption of molecular vibrational modes on the one hand, and the ability to implement superior comb-based spectroscopic modalities with increased speed, sensitivity and precision on the other hand. Here, we demonstrate a simple, yet effective, method for the direct generation of mid-infrared optical frequency combs in the region from 2.5 to 4.0 μm (that is, 2,500–4,000 cm−1), covering a large fraction of the functional group region, from a conventional and compact erbium-fibre-based femtosecond laser in the telecommunication band (that is, 1.55 μm). The wavelength conversion is based on dispersive wave generation within the supercontinuum process in an unprecedented large-cross-section silicon nitride (Si3N4) waveguide with the dispersion lithographically engineered. The long-wavelength dispersive wave can perform as a mid-infrared frequency comb, whose coherence is demonstrated via optical heterodyne measurements. Such an approach can be considered as an alternative option to mid-infrared frequency comb generation. Moreover, it has the potential to realize compact dual-comb spectrometers. The generated combs also have a fine teeth-spacing, making them suitable for gas-phase analysis.

Published in:
Nature Photonics, 12, 6, 330-335
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 Record created 2018-06-04, last modified 2018-12-03

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