The authors propose and analyze the optical signal processing functionality of periodic structures consisting of alternating layers of materials possessing different Kerr nonlinearities. They explore structure-materials-performance relationships in all-optical analog-to-digital converters, hardlimiters, and AND and OR gates. They show that their proposed analog-to-digital converters can extract a binary word from multilevel optical signals in a single bit interval. They also propose a family of optical limiters whose output signal clamps to a set upper logic level for any input value exceeding a chosen threshold. They explore the performance of an all-optical logic gate whose forward-directed output implements a binary AND and whose backward-directed output implements an OR function.
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