All-optical supercontinuum switching

Oliver Melchert, Carsten Brée, Ayhan Tajalli, Alexander Pape, Rostislav Arkhipov, Stephanie Willms, Ihar Babushkin, Dmitry Skryabin, Günter Steinmeyer, Uwe Morgner, Ayhan Demircan

Research outputpeer-review


Fan-out capability, permitting one photon to switch many others, is a crucial ingredient of practical all-optical switching schemes. Exploiting an optical event horizon, high contrast switching is experimentally and theoretically demonstrated with above-unity fan-out.

Efficient all-optical switching is a challenging task as photons are bosons and cannot immediately interact with each other. Consequently, one has to resort to nonlinear optical interactions, with the Kerr gate being the classical example. However, the latter requires strong pulses to switch weaker ones. Numerous approaches have been investigated to overcome the resulting lack of fan-out capability of all-optical switches, most of which relied on types of resonant enhancement of light-matter interaction. Here we experimentally demonstrate a novel approach that utilizes switching between different portions of soliton fission induced supercontinua, exploiting an optical event horizon. This concept enables a high switching efficiency and contrast in a dissipation free setting. Our approach enables fan-out, does not require critical biasing, and is at least partially cascadable. Controlling complex soliton dynamics paves the way towards building all-optical logic gates with advanced functionalities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number146
Number of pages8
JournalCommunications Physics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 21 Aug 2020

Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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