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We investigate the coupling of two single defects in two-dimensional photonic crystals (PCs) with the same frequency but different field distributions. The defect pair like this is generally present in PCs as a combination of a reduced-size defect and an increased-size defect. In spite of the significant difference in field distribution, quasiflat impurity bands suitable for the transmission of ultrashort pulses can be achieved by properly choosing defect pairs. More importantly, the coupled cavity waveguide constructed with defect pairs offers an opportunity to establish a periodic modulation of defect modes with a control light. The dynamical band gap generated by the periodic modulation of defect modes suggests a high-efficiency all-optical switching operation in nonlinear PCs. © 2002 American Institute of Physics.