Mutual coupling and synchronization of optically coupled quantum-dot micropillar lasers at ultra-low light levels
Synchronization of coupled oscillators at the transition between classical physics and quantum physics has become an emerging research topic at the crossroads of nonlinear dynamics and nanophotonics. We study this unexplored field by using quantum dot microlasers as optical oscillators. Operating in the regime of cavity quantum electrodynamics (cQED) with an intracavity photon number on the order of 10 and output powers in the 100 nW range, these devices have high β-factors associated with enhanced spontaneous emission noise. We identify synchronization of mutually coupled microlasers via frequency locking associated with a sub-gigahertz locking range. A theoretical analysis of the coupling behavior reveals striking differences from optical synchronization in the classical domain with negligible spontaneous emission noise. Beyond that, additional self-feedback leads to zero-lag synchronization of coupled microlasers at ultra-low light levels. Our work has high potential to pave the way for future experiments in the quantum regime of synchronization.