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All-optical switches on a silicon chip realized using photonic crystal nanocavities

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5 Author(s)
Takasumi Tanabe, ; NTT Basic Research Laboratories, NTT Corporation 3-1, Morinosato Wakamiya Atsugi-shi, Kanagawa 243-0198, Japan ; Notomi, Masaya ; Mitsugi, S. ; Shinya, Akihiko
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We demonstrate all-optical switching in the telecommunication band, in silicon photonic crystals at high speed (∼50 ps), with extremely low switching energy (a few 100 fJ), and high switching contrast (∼10 dB). The devices consist of ultrasmall high-quality factor nanocavities connected to input and output waveguides. Switching is induced by a nonlinear refractive-index change caused by the plasma effect of carriers generated by two-photon absorption in silicon. The high-quality factor and small mode volume led to an extraordinarily large reduction in switching energy. The estimated internal switching energy in the nanocavity is as small as a few tens of fJ, indicating that further reduction on the operating energy is possible.

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Applied Physics Letters  (Volume:87 ,  Issue: 15 )