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The paper briefly reviews the major forms of optical bistability in active optical devices compatible for use in gigabit optical communication systems, and reports an entirely new optical bistability for the first time. Unlike previous devices, the two bistable states of the optical device are each a series of picosecond optical pulses at 1 GHz or greater repetition rates, and are distinguished by a half period temporal shift between their temporal positions in relation to a clock pulse. The bistable device is based on a gain switched semiconductor laser. Theoretical studies suggest 100-ps switching speeds might be achieved, and experimental results are reported indicating optically triggered switching times of 500 ps.
Date of Publication: Oct 1987