Optical Bistability and Multi-Stability in the Semiconductor InSb

  • D. A. B. Miller
  • S. D. Smith
  • C. T. Seaton


The discovery of third-order refractive nonlinearity with X 3 ∼ 10−2 esu has led to the observation of optical bistability in thin parallel crystals of InSb in various orders. The effect is so sensitive that it is observable at power densities ∼10 W/cm2 (mW incident powers) using 100 μm dimension devices. Transphasor action, that is, two-beam differential signal gain analogous to transistor action, has been observed with gains of up to 10. The future prospects of these devices are discussed in terms of macroscopic and microscopic processes, for both of which new theory has been developed, and the possibility of fast, low-power switching is discussed.


Nonlinear Refractive Index Optical Bistability Recombination Time Nonlinear Refraction Differential Gain 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. A. B. Miller
    • 1
  • S. D. Smith
    • 1
  • C. T. Seaton
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhysicsHeriot-Watt UniversityEdinburghUK

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