Evanescent coupling assisted four-wave mixing in a silicon-on-insulator directional coupler

Ding, Wei W. and Staines, Owain K. O.K. and Hobbs, Gareth D. G.D. and Gorbach, Andrey V. A.V. and De Nobriga, Charles E. C.E. and Wadsworth, William J. W.J. and Knight, Jonathan C. J.C. and Skryabin, Dmitry V. D.V. and Strain, Michael John M.J. and Sorel, Marc M. and De La Rue, Richard M. R.M. (2012) Evanescent coupling assisted four-wave mixing in a silicon-on-insulator directional coupler. Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering, 8554. 855411. ISSN 0277-786X (https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2000638)

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Four-wave mixing (FWM) has been extensively explored in optical fibers and more recently in on-chip silicon-oninsulator (SOI) waveguides. A phase-matched FWM with a pair of degenerate pump photons generating and amplifying signal and idler photons is referred as modulational instability (MI). Following theory of FWM in waveguide arrays, we utilize evanescent couplings between neighboring waveguides to control the phase-matching condition in FWM. In experiments, a set of single-channel SOI nanowaveguides with the waveguide width decreasing from 380nm to 340nm demonstrate that changing the waveguide group velocity dispersion (GVD) at the pump wavelength from being anomalous to being normal makes MI gain gradually disappear. We also perform the same experiment with an array of two 380nm-wide SOI waveguide, and demonstrate that for the large separation of 900nm and 800nm, MI gain is present as for the single waveguide; while for the small separation of 400nm, the MI gain disappears. This transformation of phase-matching in FWM is attributed to the fact that the coupling induced dispersion changes the net GVD of the symmetric supermode from being anomalous for large separation to being normal for small separation. Our observation illustrates that the coupling-induced GVD can compete and exceed in value the GVD of a single SOI nanowaveguide. This creates a new previously unexplored degree of freedom to control FWM on chips.