Abstract

Switching light is one of the most fundamental functions of an optical circuit. As such, optical switches are a major research topic in photonics, and many types of switches have been realized. Most optical switches operate by imposing a phase shift between two sections of the device to direct light from one port to another, or to switch it on and off, the major constraint being that typical refractive index changes are very small. Conventional solutions address this issue by making long devices, thus increasing the footprint, or by using resonant enhancement, thus reducing the bandwidth. We present a slow-light-enhanced optical switch that is 36 times shorter than a conventional device for the same refractive index change and has a switching length of 5.2μm.

© 2008 Optical Society of America

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