Abstract

We present an analysis of the optical loop mirror in which a nonlinear optical element is asymmetrically placed in the loop. This analysis provides a general framework for the operation of a recently invented ultrafast all-optical switch known as the terahertz optical asymmetric demultiplexer. We show that a loop with small asymmetry, such as that used in the terahertz optical asymmetric demultiplexer, permits low-power ultrafast all-optical sampling and demultiplexing to be performed with a relatively slow optical nonlinearity. The size of the loop is completely irrelevant to switch operation as long as the required degree of asymmetry is accommodated. This is therefore the first low-power ultrafast all-optical switch that can be integrated on a single substrate.

© 1994 Optical Society of America

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