Abstract

Balanced radiation and absorption rates of an optical resonator are necessary for coherent perfect light absorption in many active device applications. This balance is referred to as critical coupling condition. We propose a gain-assisted method for exact access to critical coupling conditions without altering any structure parameters. In a coherent absorber with additional internal gain media, critical coupling with arbitrarily high coherent signal extinction can be obtained by continuously tuning optical pumping density. Assuming a surface-plasmon resonance grating covered by a gain layer as a promising architecture, we numerically demonstrate gain-assisted continuous access to its critical coupling point with experimentally probable settings. In addition, the gain tuning further introduces switching of the coherent-absorber’s functionality to a conventional lossless beam splitter.

© 2015 Optical Society of America

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