Free-carrier-induced soliton fission unveiled by in situ measurements in nanophotonic waveguides Journal Article

Author(s): Husko, Chad A; Wulf, Matthias; Lefrançois, Simon; Combrié, Sylvain; Lehoucq, Gaëlle; De Rossi, Alfredo; Eggleton, Benjamin J; Kuipers, Laurens K
Article Title: Free-carrier-induced soliton fission unveiled by in situ measurements in nanophotonic waveguides
Affiliation IST Austria
Abstract: Solitons are localized waves formed by a balance of focusing and defocusing effects. These nonlinear waves exist in diverse forms of matter yet exhibit similar properties including stability, periodic recurrence and particle-like trajectories. One important property is soliton fission, a process by which an energetic higher-order soliton breaks apart due to dispersive or nonlinear perturbations. Here we demonstrate through both experiment and theory that nonlinear photocarrier generation can induce soliton fission. Using near-field measurements, we directly observe the nonlinear spatial and temporal evolution of optical pulses in situ in a nanophotonic semiconductor waveguide. We develop an analytic formalism describing the free-carrier dispersion (FCD) perturbation and show the experiment exceeds the minimum threshold by an order of magnitude. We confirm these observations with a numerical nonlinear Schrödinger equation model. These results provide a fundamental explanation and physical scaling of optical pulse evolution in free-carrier media and could enable improved supercontinuum sources in gas based and integrated semiconductor waveguides.
Keywords: MATERIALS SCIENCE; Physical sciences; Optical physics
Journal Title: Nature Communications
Volume: 7
ISSN: 2041-1723
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group  
Date Published: 2016-04-15
Start Page: Article number: 11332
Copyright Statement: CC-BY 4.0
DOI: 10.1038/ncomms11332
Notes: This research was supported by the Australian Research Council (ARC) Center of Excellence CUDOS (CE110001018), ARC Laureate Fellowship (FL120100029), ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA DE120102069), the Netherlands Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter (FOM) and the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO). L.K. acknowledges funding from ERC Advanced Investigator Grant (no. 240438-CONSTANS). A.D.R, S.C., and G.L. acknowledge financial support from the ERC-Pharos programme lead by A. P. Mosk.
Open access: yes (OA journal)