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Phys Rev Lett. 2010 Dec 31;105(26):263904. Epub 2010 Dec 27.

Low-threshold optical parametric oscillations in a whispering gallery mode resonator.

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Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light, Erlangen, Germany.


In whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonator light is guided by continuous total internal reflection along a curved surface. Fabricating such resonators from an optically nonlinear material one takes advantage of their exceptionally high quality factors and small mode volumes to achieve extremely efficient optical frequency conversion. Our analysis of the phase-matching conditions for optical parametric down-conversion (PDC) in a spherical WGM resonator shows their direct relation to the sum rules for photons' angular momenta and predicts a very low parametric oscillation threshold. We realized such an optical parametric oscillator (OPO) based on naturally phase-matched PDC in lithium niobate. We demonstrated a single-mode, strongly nondegenerate OPO with a threshold of 6.7 μW and linewidth under 10 MHz. This work demonstrates the remarkable capabilities of WGM-based OPOs.

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