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Sci Rep. 2017 May 8;7(1):1647. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-01494-w.

Complete linear optical isolation at the microscale with ultralow loss.

Author information

1
Mechanical Science and Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois, USA.
2
Mechanical Science and Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois, USA. bahl@illinois.edu.

Abstract

Low-loss optical isolators and circulators are critical nonreciprocal components for signal routing and protection, but their chip-scale integration is not yet practical using standard photonics foundry processes. The significant challenges that confront integration of magneto-optic nonreciprocal systems on chip have made imperative the exploration of magnet free alternatives. However, none of these approaches have yet demonstrated linear optical isolation with ideal characteristics over a microscale footprint - simultaneously incorporating large contrast with ultralow forward loss - having fundamental compatibility with photonic integration in standard waveguide materials. Here we demonstrate that complete linear optical isolation can be obtained within any dielectric waveguide using only a whispering-gallery microresonator pumped by a single-frequency laser. The isolation originates from a nonreciprocal induced transparency based on a coherent light-sound interaction, with the coupling originating from the traveling-wave Brillouin scattering interaction, that breaks time-reversal symmetry within the waveguide-resonator system. Our result demonstrates that material-agnostic and wavelength-agnostic optical isolation is far more accessible for chip-scale photonics than previously thought.

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