Low-noise, chip-based optical wavelength converter demonstrated

September 6, 2012 by Kartik Srinivasan
Low-noise, chip-based optical wavelength converter demonstrated
Scanning electron micrograph of the cross-section of a silicon nitride waveguide designed for the low-noise frequency conversion with a simulation of the device's optical field profile superimposed.

(Phys.org)—Researchers from the NIST Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology have demonstrated a low-noise device for changing the wavelength of light using nanofabricated waveguides created on a silicon-based platform using standard planar fabrication technology.

conversion is an important resource for applications in both classical and : it can connect physical systems operating at different wavelengths, and facilitate improved light detection by converting light to wavelengths for which highly sensitive detectors are available. However, for many such applications the conversion process must not introduce additional noise. The researchers were able to demonstrate noise-free using waveguides fabricated on a .

These waveguides were designed based on electromagnetic simulations to determine an appropriate device geometry for a process called four-wave-mixing Bragg scattering, where an input signal field is converted to an output field whose frequency is shifted from the original by an amount equal to the difference in the frequencies of two applied pump fields. Measurements show conversion efficiencies in these devices as high as a few percent, approaching the levels needed for some applications, and with no excess noise added during the conversion process.

These new noise-free frequency converters are dramatically smaller than the nonlinear crystals and optical fibers used in previous work (by several orders of magnitude), and can be created in arrays and integrated with other on-chip devices using scalable silicon-based fabrication methods. Future work will focus on increasing the conversion efficiency levels by optimizing the waveguide geometry and incorporating the waveguides into optical resonators.

Explore further: Improved spectrometer based on nonlinear optics

More information: Low-noise chip-based frequency conversion by four-wave-mixing Bragg scattering in SiNx waveguides, I. Agha, M. Davanco, B. Thurston, and K. Srinivasan, Optics Letters 37, 2997–2999 (2012).

Related Stories

Improved spectrometer based on nonlinear optics

November 12, 2008

Scientists at Stanford University and Japan's National Institute of Informatics have created a new highly sensitive infrared spectrometer. The device converts light from the infrared part of the spectrum to the visible ...

Recommended for you

Understanding nature's patterns with plasmas

August 23, 2016

Patterns abound in nature, from zebra stripes and leopard spots to honeycombs and bands of clouds. Somehow, these patterns form and organize all by themselves. To better understand how, researchers have now created a new ...

Light and matter merge in quantum coupling

August 22, 2016

Where light and matter intersect, the world illuminates. Where light and matter interact so strongly that they become one, they illuminate a world of new physics, according to Rice University scientists.

Measuring tiny forces with light

August 25, 2016

Photons are bizarre: They have no mass, but they do have momentum. And that allows researchers to do counterintuitive things with photons, such as using light to push matter around.

Stretchy supercapacitors power wearable electronics

August 23, 2016

A future of soft robots that wash your dishes or smart T-shirts that power your cell phone may depend on the development of stretchy power sources. But traditional batteries are thick and rigid—not ideal properties for ...

Spherical tokamak as model for next steps in fusion energy

August 24, 2016

Among the top puzzles in the development of fusion energy is the best shape for the magnetic facility—or "bottle"—that will provide the next steps in the development of fusion reactors. Leading candidates include spherical ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.