Ultralow-noise photonic microwave synthesis using a soliton microcomb-based transfer oscillator

The synthesis of ultralow-noise microwaves is of both scientific and technological relevance for timing, metrology, communications and radio-astronomy. Today, the lowest reported phase noise signals are obtained via optical frequency-division using mode-locked laser frequency combs. Nonetheless, this technique ideally requires high repetition rates and tight comb stabilisation. Here, a microresonator-based Kerr frequency comb (soliton microcomb) with a 14 GHz repetition rate is generated with an ultra-stable pump laser and used to derive an ultralow-noise microwave reference signal, with an absolute phase noise level below -60 dBc/Hz at 1 Hz offset frequency and -135 dBc/Hz at 10 kHz. This is achieved using a transfer oscillator approach, where the free-running microcomb noise (which is carefully studied and minimised) is cancelled via a combination of electronic division and mixing. Although this proof-of-principle uses an auxiliary comb for detecting the microcomb's offset frequency, we highlight the prospects of this method with future self-referenced integrated microcombs and electro-optic combs, that would allow for ultralow-noise microwave and sub-terahertz signal generators.


Published in:
Nature Communications, 11, 1, 374
Year:
Jan 17 2020
Publisher:
London, NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP
ISSN:
2041-1723
Keywords:
Laboratories:


Note: The status of this file is: Anyone


 Record created 2020-03-11, last modified 2020-04-20

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