Topological cascade laser for frequency comb generation in PT-symmetric structures

The cascade of resonant topological structures with PT-symmetry breaking is shown to emit laser light with a frequency-comb spectrum. We consider optically active topological Aubry-Andr\’e-Harper lattices supporting edge-modes at regularly spaced frequencies. When the amplified resonances in the PT-broken regime match the edge modes of the topological gratings, we predict the emission of discrete laser lines. A proper design enables to engineer the spectral features for specific applications. The robustness of the topological protection makes the system very well suited for a novel generation of compact frequency comb emitters for spectroscopy, metrology, and quantum information.

Pilozzi and Conti, arXiv:1707.09191

Phase-matching-free parametric oscillators based on two dimensional semiconductors

Optical parametric oscillators are widely-used pulsed and continuous-wave tunable sources for innumerable applications, as in quantum technologies, imaging and biophysics. A key drawback is material dispersion imposing the phase-matching condition that generally entails a complex setup design, thus hindering tunability and miniaturization. Here we show that the burden of phase-matching is surprisingly absent in parametric micro-resonators adopting monolayer transition-metal dichalcogenides as quadratic nonlinear materials. By the exact solution of nonlinear Maxwell equations and first-principle calculation of the semiconductor nonlinear response, we devise a novel kind of phase-matching-free miniaturized parametric oscillator operating at conventional pump intensities. We find that different two-dimensional semiconductors yield degenerate and non-degenerate emission at various spectral regions thanks to doubly-resonant mode excitation, which can be tuned through the incidence angle of the external pump laser. In addition we show that high-frequency electrical modulation can be achieved by doping through electrical gating that efficiently shifts the parametric oscillation threshold. Our results pave the way for new ultra-fast tunable micron-sized sources of entangled photons, a key device underpinning any quantum protocol. Highly-miniaturized optical parametric oscillators may also be employed in lab-on-chip technologies for biophysics, environmental pollution detection and security.

Ciattoni, Marini, Rizza, Conti in arXiv:1707.08843

Lasing in curved geometry

A paper by Hong et al reports about lasing emission on modes sustained by local curvature.

The use of geometrical constraints opens many new perspectives in photonics and in fundamental studies of nonlinear waves. By implementing surface structures in vertical cavity surface emitting lasers as manifolds for curved space, we experimentally study the impacts of geometrical constraints on nonlinear wave localization. We observe localized waves pinned to the maximal curvature in an elliptical-ring, and confirm the reduction in the localization length of waves by measuring near and far field patterns, as well as the corresponding dispersion relation. Theoretically, analyses based on a dissipative model with a parabola curve give good agreement remarkably to experimental measurement on the transition from delocalized to localized waves. The introduction of curved geometry allows to control and design lasing modes in the nonlinear regime.

Shenzhen-Roma Joint Laboratory on Nonlinear Photonics

A new joint laboratory between Dr. Lifu Zhang of Center for Optoelectronic Science & Technology at Shenzhen University (China) and Prof. Claudio Conti at the Department of Physics of Sapienza is being settled. The laboratory will study theoretical and experimental nonlinear photonics with emphasis on supercontinuum generation, spatio-temporal, and high-field phenomena.

Several joint post-doctoral positions are available in this initiative and open to researchers with a Ph.D. in Optics and Photonics with outstanding track record.

Please contact the team:

Dr. Lifu Zhang (, SZU International Cooperation Laboratory

Prof. Claudio Conti, Dep. of Physics Sapienza, Rome