Research ArticlePHYSICS

On-chip dual-comb source for spectroscopy

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Science Advances  02 Mar 2018:
Vol. 4, no. 3, e1701858
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1701858

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Dual-comb spectroscopy is a powerful technique for real-time, broadband optical sampling of molecular spectra, which requires no moving components. Recent developments with microresonator-based platforms have enabled frequency combs at the chip scale. However, the need to precisely match the resonance wavelengths of distinct high quality-factor microcavities has hindered the development of on-chip dual combs. We report the simultaneous generation of two microresonator combs on the same chip from a single laser, drastically reducing experimental complexity. We demonstrate broadband optical spectra spanning 51 THz and low-noise operation of both combs by deterministically tuning into soliton mode-locked states using integrated microheaters, resulting in narrow (<10 kHz) microwave beat notes. We further use one comb as a reference to probe the formation dynamics of the other comb, thus introducing a technique to investigate comb evolution without auxiliary lasers or microwave oscillators. We demonstrate high signal-to-noise ratio absorption spectroscopy spanning 170 nm using the dual-comb source over a 20-μs acquisition time. Our device paves the way for compact and robust spectrometers at nanosecond time scales enabled by large beat-note spacings (>1 GHz).

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