We demonstrate low-power thermo-optic-based optical bistability in a free-standing silicon ring resonator. A bistable optical response is achieved at reduced pump powers by thermally isolating the ring resonator from its supporting substrate with an air gap. The conversion efficiency from optical power to temperature change in the silicon core is enhanced. The optical transfer function of the resulting free-standing resonator exhibits a hysteresis loop for input optical power. Similar nonthermally isolated resonators at the same detuning do not exhibit a bistable mode for input powers less than 2 mW.
© 2010 Optical Society of AmericaFull Article | PDF Article