Abstract

We demonstrate cw optical bistability at 1.06 μm using the large thermo-optical nonlinearity from the metal-semiconductor phase transition in a thin-film interference filter of vanadium dioxide. Highly stable and reproducible operation has been obtained. By biasing at the transition point, an all-optical external switching between the semiconducting and the metallic states has been demonstrated, with a contrast ratio of 15:1. The effective nonlinear index coefficient is n2 ≈ 1.6 cm2/W with a switching energy density of 135 pJ/μm2 and a speed of 15 ms. The tunability of the material properties of vanadium dioxide provides a means to make devices with a wide range of switching powers and speeds.

© 1992 Optical Society of America

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