Ultra-low-power hybrid light–matter solitons

P. M. Walker, L. Tinkler, D. V. Skryabin, A. Yulin, B. Royall, I. Farrer, D. A. Ritchie, M. S. Skolnick, D. N. Krizhanovskii

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Citations (SciVal)


New functionalities in nonlinear optics will require systems with giant optical nonlinearity as well as compatibility with photonic circuit fabrication techniques. Here we introduce a platform based on strong light–matter coupling between waveguide photons and quantum-well excitons. On a sub-millimetre length scale we generate picosecond bright temporal solitons at a pulse energy of only 0.5 pJ. From this we deduce a nonlinear refractive index three orders of magnitude larger than in any other ultrafast system. We study both temporal and spatio-temporal nonlinear effects and observe dark–bright spatio-temporal polariton solitons. Theoretical modelling of soliton formation in the strongly coupled system confirms the experimental observations. These results show the promise of our system as a high speed, low power, integrated platform for physics and devices based on strong interactions between photons.
Original languageEnglish
Article number8317
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalNature Communications
Early online date24 Sept 2015
Publication statusPublished - 24 Sept 2015


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