Recently, polarization bistability between TE00 and TM00 modes in InGaAsP/InP lasers has been observed at the 1.3-μm wavelength.1 The switching between the two orthogonally polarized modes is found to have a nanosecond time constant, high extinction ratios, and complementary output in two polarizations. These features are potentially useful for high-speed optical switching applications. The use of the polarization-bistable semiconductor lasers as active optical logic elements and memories for optical signal processing has already been demonstrated.2 The aim of this paper is to identity the polarization flip mechanism which occurs in such lasers to understand the nonlinear optical behavior of the bistability and discuss the conditions for the existence of polarization bistability relevant to device fabrications.

© 1987 Optical Society of America

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