Geometric tuning. Spectroscopy using whispering-gallery resonator frequency-synthesizers
Continuous fine-tuning of nonlinear processes in whispering-gallery resonators is still in its infancy. We demonstrate an innovative, fast, and compact tuning-method by enlarging a ring-like whispering-gallery resonator made out of lithium niobate with the help of a piezo actuator disk embedded inside the resonator. The radial expansion of the actuator forces the resonator to change its size and shape. This process is much faster than thermal tuning and has the additional benefit of a smaller dispersion. Using just this method to tune the resonator, a second-harmonic process pumped at around 1 mm wavelength can be tuned mode-hop-free over a range of 28 GHz, and an optical parametric oscillator pumped at the same wavelength achieved 4.5 GHz continuous tuning. In addition to presenting and demonstrating this novel concept, the influence of the elasto-optic effect and the refractive-index dispersion are discussed, and an analytic model to predict the wavelength dependent tuning efficiency is presented.