A pump–probe optical switching mechanism that uses a nonlinear chiral photonic bandgap structure is proposed. The switching is achieved by shifting the bandgap of the structure; the chirality permits the use of the same frequency for the pump and the probe beam. The pump beam is never transmitted, so there is no discrimination problem. A new extension of the finite-difference time-domain technique is developed to simulate the propagation of an electromagnetic wave in a Kerr nonlinear chiral medium.
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