Optical Bistability and Differential Gain

  • H. M. Gibbs
  • S. L. McCall
  • T. N. C. Venkatesan
Part of the NATO Advanced Study Institutes Series book series (NSSB, volume 37)


A Fabry-Perot interferometer containing a nonlinear medium exhibits many fascinating operating characteristics including hysteresis and AC gain. The basic concept and physical picture are given. The experiment demonstrating optical bistability in Na is described. The dominant role often played by nonlinear phase shifts was first discovered in analyzing that experiment. A simple analytic model of such dispersive bistability is derived giving simple relations between initial plate detuning, plate reflectivity, and magnitude of the nonlinearity for bistability or gain.


Saturable Absorber Optical Bistability Differential Gain Nonlinear Index Nonlinear Phase Shift 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. M. Gibbs
    • 1
  • S. L. McCall
    • 1
  • T. N. C. Venkatesan
    • 1
  1. 1.Bell LaboratoriesUSA

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