Abstract

We study the simultaneous occurrence of dispersive optical bistability and nonlinear polarization rotation in a nonlinear photonic resonator. The demonstrated bistable hysteresis curves of the Stokes parameters broaden the notion of optical bistability in nonlinear resonators beyond that of the traditional optical-power hysteresis curve. We present a theoretical model to fully understand the polarization hysteresis curves observed in the laboratory and to establish the relevant scaling parameters for bistable action. By optimizing the optical-signal power injected into each polarization mode of the resonator and optimizing the small-signal birefringence of the resonator by selection of the signal wavelength, a polarization rotation of 30% orthogonality was achieved between stable polarization states in the lab. The theoretical and experimental methods reported here are carried out for the case of a Fabry–Perot semiconductor optical amplifier, and are extendable to the investigation of simultaneous occurrence of these phenomena in other nonlinear media (such as Kerr media) and other photonic resonators.

© 2019 Optical Society of America

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