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We show that strong optically induced intervalence band transitions in type-II InAs/GaSb/AlSb quantum wells lead to reverse saturable absorption, and propose to apply it to optical limiting in the mid-infrared spectral region. A salient feature of the proposed limiter is the flexibility of the design for different wavelengths and threshold powers. We develop a rigorous theoretical model of the proposed limiter, and use it to estimate the relationship between the key figures of merit: insertion loss, threshold, optical bandwidth and dynamic range. We investigate tradeoffs involving the dynamic range, optical bandwidth and thickness of the limiter, and show that one can attain a favorable combination of these.
Date of Publication: Oct. 2004