Microresonator frequency combs harness the nonlinear Kerr effect in an integrated optical cavity to generate a multitude of phase-locked frequency lines. The line spacing can reach values in the order of 100 GHz, making it an attractive multi-wavelength light source for applications in fiber-optic communications. Depending on the dispersion of the microresonator, different physical dynamics have been observed. A recently discovered comb state corresponds to the formation of mode-locked dark pulses in a normal-dispersion microcavity. Such dark-pulse combs are particularly compelling for advanced coherent communications since they display unusually high power-conversion efficiency. Here, we report the first coherent-transmission experiments using 64-quadrature amplitude modulation encoded onto the frequency lines of a dark-pulse comb. The high conversion efficiency of the comb enables transmitted optical signal-to-noise ratios above 33 dB, while maintaining a laser pump power level compatible with state-of-the-art hybrid silicon lasers.


This is the publisher's version. Version of record:

Fulop, A. et al. (2018). “High-order coherent communications using mode-locked dark-pulse Kerr combs from microresonators,” Nature Communications 9(1598), DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-04046-6

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