Authors: Chengying Bao, Myoung-Gyun Suh, Boqiang Shen, Kemal Şafak, Anan Dai, Heming Wang, Lue Wu, Zhiquan Yuan, Qi-Fan Yang, Andrey B. Matsko, Franz X. Kärtner, Kerry J. Vahala
Published 25 January 2021 .
Abstract: Coherently-pumped (Kerr) solitons in an ideal optical microcavity are expected to undergo random quantum motion that determines fundamental performance limits in applications of soliton microcombs. Here, this diffusive motion and its impact on Kerr soliton timing jitter is studied experimentally. Typically hidden below technical noise contributions, the quantum limit is discerned by measuring counter-propagating solitons. Their relative motion features only weak interactions and also presents excellent common mode suppression of technical noise. This is in strong contrast to co-propagating solitons which are found to have relative timing jitter well below the quantum limit of a single soliton on account of strong mutual motion correlation. Good agreement is found between theory and experiment. The results establish the fundamental limits to timing jitter in soliton microcombs and provide new insights on multi-soliton physics.