Picosecond Nonlinear-Optical Limiting in Silicon
We report a Si picosecond nonlinear-optical energy limiter for 1 pm radiation. This completely passive device has a high transmission for low input energies, but it effectively clamps the output at a low value for high input energies. The switching action is activated by the generation of electron-hole pairs and therefore has a subpicosecond initiation time. The recovery time is limited by the carrier lifetime in the material. This device is attractive for pulsed applications where one wishes to restrict the pulse energy incident upon sensitive optical components. Additional potential applications include its use as an optical Zener diode and as a fluence regulator for use in materials processing.
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