All-optical tunable buffering was recently achieved on a chip by using dynamically tuned coupled mode induced transparency, which is an optical analogue of electromagnetically induced transparency. However, the small Q s of about 105 used in those systems were limiting the maximum buffering time to a few hundred ps. Although employing an ultra-high Q whispering gallery mode (WGM) microcavity can significantly improve the maximum buffering time, the dynamic tuning of the WGM has remained challenging because thermo-optic and pressure tunings, which are widely used for WGM microcavities, have a very slow response. Here we demonstrate all-optical tunable buffering utilizing coupled ultra-high Q WGM cavities and the Kerr effect. The Kerr effect can change the refractive index instantaneously, and this allowed us to tune the WGM cavity very quickly. In addition, from among the various WGM cavities we employed a silica toroid microcavity for our experiments because it has an ultra-high Q factor (>2 × 107) and a small mode volume, and can be fabricated on a chip. Use of the Kerr effect and the silica toroid microcavity enabled us to observe an on-chip all-optical tunable buffering operation and achieve a maximum buffering time of 20 ns.
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