Absorptive Optical Bistability in a Bad Cavity

  • Paul Mandel
  • T. Erneux


Optical bistability is a fascinating subject from many points of view. Experimentally the construction and the study of all-optical and hybrid bistable systems open a new avenue for fundamental and applied physics. In this respect the most striking applications of optical bistable devices are (i) their use to test predictions of the various properties of “deterministic chaos” such as e.g. scaling laws, 1/f noise, roads to chaos (see the many contributions on these subjects in this volume) and (ii) their potential use as purely optical logic gates and therefore all-optical circuits (see in particular D.S.Smith’s contribution in this volume). From the theoretical point of view the equations describing optical bistability are challenging because they seem rather simple but nevertheless they describe a huge variety of very different behaviors which can, in principle, be tested experimentally. This relation between theoretical prediction and experiment is often limited because analytic studies of the coupled Maxwell-Bloch equations usually rely on adiabatic elimination schemes.


Fundamental Variable Input Field Output Field Cavity Limit Cavity Decay Rate 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Mandel
    • 1
  • T. Erneux
    • 2
  1. 1.Université Libre de BruxellesBruxellesBelgium
  2. 2.Department of Applied MathematicsNorthwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA

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