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Appl Opt. 2006 Sep 1;45(25):6349-57.

Optical bistability in vertical-cavity semiconductor optical amplifiers.

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  • 1Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla 92093-0407, USA.


We present an overview of the properties and applications of optical bistability in vertical-cavity semiconductor optical amplifiers (VCSOAs). The basic physics and analytical models of this optical nonlinearity are discussed. Experimental results obtained from a VCSOA operated in the 850 nm wavelength region are presented. Counterclockwise hysteresis loops are obtained over a range of initial phase detuning and bias currents. One hysteresis loop is observed experimentally with an input power as low as 2 muW when the device is biased at 98% of its lasing threshold. Numerical simulations based on the Fabry-Perot resonator model and rate equations we developed show good agreement with our experimental observations. In addition, a low input intensity high contrast (10:1) optical and gate and 2R regeneration are demonstrated. We believe that bistable VCSOAs can significantly advance the prospect of a dense two-dimensional array of low-switching-intensity all-optical logic and memory elements.

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