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Picosecond and low-power all-optical switching based on an organic photonic-bandgap microcavity

Abstract

Photonic crystals, materials with periodic dielectric structures, are able to control the propagation states of photons owing to the so-called photonic-bandgap effect1. Nonlinear photonic crystals, whose refractive-index distribution can be tuned optically, have been used to demonstrate all-optical switching2. However, a high pump intensity is usually required because the nonlinear optical coefficient of conventional materials is relatively small3. Here we report ultrafast and low-power photonic-crystal all-optical switching based on strong optical nonlinearity enhancement due to excited-state interelectron transfer. Compared with the case without nonlinearity enhancement, the switching operation power is reduced by four orders of magnitude while the ultrafast response time, of the order of a picosecond, is maintained. This provides a strategy for constructing photonic materials with large nonlinearity and studying ultrafast low-power integrated photonic devices.

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Figure 1: Scanning-electron-microscopy (SEM) images of the photonic-bandgap microcavity.
Figure 2: Experimental set-up.
Figure 3: Resonant mode of the photonic-bandgap microcavity.
Figure 4: Transmittance changes of the probe light as functions of the time delay between pump and probe pulses.
Figure 5: Transmittance spectra of the microcavity resonant mode as functions of the energy of the pump light.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China under grants 10574007, 10521002 and 10434020, and the National Basic Research Program of China under grant 2007CB307001.

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Contributions

X.H., P.J., H.Y. and C.D. carried out the experiments. X.H. made the main contribution to the experiments and data analysis. Q.G. conceived the experiments, wrote the manuscript and helped with the data analysis.

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Correspondence to Qihuang Gong.

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Hu, X., Jiang, P., Ding, C. et al. Picosecond and low-power all-optical switching based on an organic photonic-bandgap microcavity. Nature Photon 2, 185–189 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1038/nphoton.2007.299

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/nphoton.2007.299

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