Abstract

Efficient narrowband light absorption by a metal–insulator–metal (MIM) structure can lead to high-speed light-to-heat conversion at a micro- or nanoscale. Such a MIM structure can serve as a heater for achieving all-optical light control based on the thermo-optical (TO) effect. Here we experimentally fabricated and characterized a novel all-optical switch based on a silicon microdisk integrated with a MIM light absorber. Direct integration of the absorber on top of the microdisk reduces the thermal capacity of the whole device, leading to high-speed TO switching of the microdisk resonance. The measurement result exhibits a rise time of 2.0 μs and a fall time of 2.6 μs with switching power as low as 0.5 mW; the product of switching power and response time is only about 1.3mW·μs. Since no auxiliary elements are required for the heater, the switch is structurally compact, and its fabrication is rather easy. The device potentially can be deployed for new kinds of all-optical applications.

© 2014 Optical Society of America

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