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Nat Commun. 2011;2:296. doi: 10.1038/ncomms1294.

Travelling-wave resonant four-wave mixing breaks the limits of cavity-enhanced all-optical wavelength conversion.

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Dipartimento di Elettronica e Informazione, Politecnico di Milano, 20133 Milano, Italy.


Wave mixing inside optical resonators, while experiencing a large enhancement of the nonlinear interaction efficiency, suffers from strong bandwidth constraints, preventing its practical exploitation for processing broad-band signals. Here we show that such limits are overcome by the new concept of travelling-wave resonant four-wave mixing (FWM). This approach combines the efficiency enhancement provided by resonant propagation with a wide-band conversion process. Compared with conventional FWM in bare waveguides, it exhibits higher robustness against chromatic dispersion and propagation loss, while preserving transparency to modulation formats. Travelling-wave resonant FWM has been demonstrated in silicon-coupled ring resonators and was exploited to realize a 630-μm-long wavelength converter operating over a wavelength range wider than 60 nm and with 28-dB gain with respect to a bare waveguide of the same physical length. Full compatibility of the travelling-wave resonant FWM with optical signal processing applications has been demonstrated through signal retiming and reshaping at 10 Gb s(-1).

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