We demonstrate a modulation-instability-based fiber interferometer switch, an ultrafast all-optical fiber switch operating near 1.5-μm wavelength with more than 40 dB of small-signal gain. Switching is accomplished by seeding the modulation instability in one arm of a Mach–Zehnder interferometer, thus destroying its balance. Computer simulations, which include the effects of Raman self-frequency shifts, suggest that as much as 74% of the power input to the interferometer can be transferred to its (initially nulled) output arm when cw pumps are used. Even with an 80% loss at the output analyzer, we have gated 184 mW of power from a color-center laser using only 4.4 μW from a semiconductor laser.
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