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Opt Lett. 2005 Sep 1;30(17):2254-6.

All-optical switching in silicon photonic crystal waveguides by use of the plasma dispersion effect.

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  • 1Department of Physics, Lehigh University, 16 Memorial Drive East, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 18015, USA.


Silicon photonic crystals offer new ways of controlling the propagation of light as well as new tools for the realization of high-density optical integration on monolithic substrates. However, silicon does not possess the strong nonlinearities that are commonly used in the dynamic control of optical devices. Such dynamic control is nevertheless essential if silicon is to provide the higher levels of functionality that are required for optical integration. We demonstrate that the combination of the refractive index change caused by the presence of photoexcited carriers, or so-called plasma dispersion, and photonic crystal properties such as photonic bandgaps, constitutes a powerful tool for active control of light in silicon integrated devices. We show close to 100% modulation depth near the photonic crystal band edge.

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