Optical bistability and signal amplification in a semiconductor crystal: Applications of new low-power nonlinear effects in InSb

D A B Miller, Desmond Smith, A Johnston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

We report the observation of optical stability for a plane parallel semiconductor crystal which forms a Fabry-Perot interferometer using only the natural reflectivity of its surfaces. Nonlinear transmission is observed for cw laser intensities above ~ 100 W/cm2 for radiation at 1895 cm -1 near the energy gap of InSb at 5 K. The effect is interpreted in terms of a very large intensity-dependent refractive index giving a 5?/2 optical thickness change for an intensity of ~2 kW/cm2. Clear bistability is seen in fifth-order interference, the first such observation above first order in an intrinsic, one-element system, in addition to regions exhibiting signal amplification. The same crystal also shows strong modulation of the transmission of one laser beam induced by a second, with real signal gain, thus demonstrating an "optical transistor.".

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)658-660
Number of pages3
JournalApplied Physics Letters
Volume35
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1979

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