Observation of Kerr nonlinearity in microcavities at room temperature
We have devised and experimentally verified a method for observation of the optical Kerr effect in microcavities at room temperature. The technique discriminates against the much larger and typically dominant thermal component of nonlinearity by using its relatively slow frequency response. Measurement of the Kerr coefficient or equivalently of the third-order nonlinear susceptibility of the cavity material is demonstrated for a silica microcavity. With this approach, useful information about the characteristic thermal response time in microresonators can also be acquired.