Direct time-domain observations are reported of a low-power, self-induced modulation of the transmitted optical power through a high-Q silicon microdisk resonator. Above a threshold input power of 60 μW the transmission versus wavelength deviates from a simple optical bistability behavior, and the transmission intensity becomes highly oscillatory in nature. The transmission oscillations are seen to consist of a train of sharp transmission dips of width approximately 100 ns and period close to 1 μs. A model of the system is developed incorporating thermal and free-carrier dynamics, and is compared to the observed behavior. Good agreement is found, and the self-induced optical modulation is attributed to a nonlinear interaction between competing free-carrier and phonon populations within the microdisk.
© 2006 Optical Society of America
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