1Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xi’an Institute of Optics and Precision Mechanics, State Key Laboratory of Transient Optics and Photonics, Xi’an, China
2University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
Optical frequency combs, a revolutionary light source characterized by discrete and equally spaced frequencies, are usually regarded as a cornerstone for advanced frequency metrology, precision spectroscopy, high-speed communication, distance ranging, molecule detection, and many others. Due to the rapid development of micro/nanofabrication technology, breakthroughs in the quality factor of microresonators enable ultrahigh energy buildup inside cavities, which gives birth to microcavity-based frequency combs. In particular, the full coherent spectrum of the soliton microcomb (SMC) provides a route to low-noise ultrashort pulses with a repetition rate over two orders of magnitude higher than that of traditional mode-locking approaches. This enables lower power consumption and cost for a wide range of applications. This review summarizes recent achievements in SMCs, including the basic theory and physical model, as well as experimental techniques for single-soliton generation and various extraordinary soliton states (soliton crystals, Stokes solitons, breathers, molecules, cavity solitons, and dark solitons), with a perspective on their potential applications and remaining challenges.