Optical bistability and soliton switching in an optical ring cavity
LE3 .A278 2004
Bachelor of Science
This thesis presents the theory of the driven optical ring cavity containing a nonlinear material. First, an overview of the history of bistability and spatial solitons in driven nonlinear cavities is outlined. Then, the basic theory of the optical Kerr effect is presented and two of its consequences are outlined: optical bistability and spatial solitons. Within this background, the mirror feedback model is derived from the Maxwell-Bloch equations and considerations of the classical optics of the cavity. This model is analytically shown to exhibit bistability in the plane wave case. The mean-field model is subsequently derived by applying the mean-field limit to the Maxwell-Bloch equations and the cavity optics. In addition, the mean-field model is analytically shown to exhibit bistability in the plane wave case. Numerical simulations are performed on the mean-field model demonstrating the existence of: (i) plane wave bistability, (ii) transverse modulational bistability, (iii) the ability to â€œswitchâ€ between bistable states in both the plane wave and modulated case, (iv) instabilities in the modulated case and (v) the possibility for optimization of the switching process. Finally, an application of bistable driven cavities is explored: an all-optical digital information processor and storage device.
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