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A near-room-temperature all-optical polarization switch based on the excitation of spin-polarized “virtual” carriers in quantum wells

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4 Author(s)
Yildirim, Murat ; Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa 52242 ; Prineas, J.P. ; Gansen, Eric J. ; Smirl, Arthur L.

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Near-room-temperature operation of an all-optical polarization switch based on the virtual excitation of spin-polarized carriers in semiconductor quantum wells is demonstrated. The device is shown to exhibit a pulse-width-limited switching time, a contrast ratio of ≫18 dB, an optical bandwidth of ∼3 THz, and an energy throughput of ≫0.1% using a thin (40 wells) GaAs/AlGaAs sample. The results of differential transmission measurements are used to identify the dominant switching mechanisms and to monitor the spin and temporal dynamics of the carriers excited during the operation of the switch.

Published in:

Journal of Applied Physics  (Volume:98 ,  Issue: 6 )