Photonic Compact Chip That Seamlessly Converts Light Into Microwaves (NIST, et al.)


A new technical paper titled “Photonic chip-based low-noise microwave oscillator” was published by researchers at NIST, University of Colorado Boulder, California Institute of Technology, UCSB, University of Virginia and Yale University.


“Numerous modern technologies are reliant on the low-phase noise and exquisite timing stability of microwave signals. Substantial progress has been made in the field of microwave photonics, whereby low-noise microwave signals are generated by the down-conversion of ultrastable optical references using a frequency comb. Such systems, however, are constructed with bulk or fibre optics and are difficult to further reduce in size and power consumption. In this work we address this challenge by leveraging advances in integrated photonics to demonstrate low-noise microwave generation via two-point optical frequency division. Narrow-linewidth self-injection-locked integrated lasers are stabilized to a miniature Fabry–Pérot cavity, and the frequency gap between the lasers is divided with an efficient dark soliton frequency comb. The stabilized output of the microcomb is photodetected to produce a microwave signal at 20 GHz with phase noise of −96 dBc Hz−1 at 100 Hz offset frequency that decreases to −135 dBc Hz−1 at 10 kHz offset—values that are unprecedented for an integrated photonic system. All photonic components can be heterogeneously integrated on a single chip, providing a significant advance for the application of photonics to high-precision navigation, communication and timing systems.”

Find the technical paper here. Published March 2024. Find the related NIST article here.

Kudelin, I., Groman, W., Ji, QX. et al. Photonic chip-based low-noise microwave oscillator. Nature (2024). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-024-07058-z.

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