Brillouin laser oscillators offer powerful and flexible dynamics as the basis for mode-locked lasers, microwave oscillators, and optical gyroscopes in a variety of optical systems. However, Brillouin interactions are markedly weak in conventional silicon photonic waveguides, stifling progress toward silicon-based Brillouin lasers. The recent advent of hybrid photonic-phononic waveguides has revealed Brillouin interactions to be one of the strongest and most tailorable nonlinearities in silicon. In this study, we have harnessed these engineered nonlinearities to demonstrate Brillouin lasing in silicon. Moreover, we show that this silicon-based Brillouin laser enters a regime of dynamics in which optical self-oscillation produces phonon linewidth narrowing. Our results provide a platform to develop a range of applications for monolithic integration within silicon photonic circuits.
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