Integrated optical auto-correlator based on third-harmonic generation in a silicon photonic crystal waveguide
The ability to use coherent light for material science and applications is linked to our ability to measure short optical pulses. While free-space optical methods are well established, achieving this on a chip would offer the greatest benefit in footprint, performance and cost, and allow the integration with complementary signal-processing devices. A key goal is to achieve operation at sub-watt peak power levels and on sub-picosecond timescales. Previous integrated demonstrations require either a temporally synchronized reference pulse, an off-chip spectrometer or long tunable delay lines. Here we report a device capable of achieving single-shot time-domain measurements of near-infrared picosecond pulses based on an ultra-compact integrated CMOS-compatible device, which could operate without any external instrumentation. It relies on optical third-harmonic generation in a slow-light silicon waveguide. Our method can also serve as an in situ diagnostic tool to map, at visible wavelengths, the propagation dynamics of near-infrared pulses in photonic crystals. © 2014 Macmillan Publishers Limited.