We propose a new passive optical thresholding device that combines the principles of multimode interference (MMI) with self-guiding. The multimode region is composed of a nonlinear optical material that will support a self-guided beam (i.e., a material with a positive Kerr nonlinearity). The device operates by switching between the MMI mode of operation and the self-guiding mode of operation, depending on the input light intensity. We describe the basic principles of a self-guiding MMI device, simulate the device, and discuss design issues associated with these optically controlled optical switches.
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