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Nonlinearity of liquefying gallium: a breakthrough opportunity for controlling light with light at milliwatt power levels

Nonlinearity of liquefying gallium: a breakthrough opportunity for controlling light with light at milliwatt power levels
Nonlinearity of liquefying gallium: a breakthrough opportunity for controlling light with light at milliwatt power levels
We have found that an interface between glass and metallic gallium held just below the melting point shows an astonishingly large broadband cubic nonlinearity reaching chi (3) ~ 1 esu. This constitutes a new type of nonlinear optical response. This large nonlinearity is available in a very versatile material geometry. It works at room temperature and has major device potential in optoelectronics. The physical mechanism behind the nonlinearity is related to a new type of optically induced phase transition between two phases of gallium and shows critical behavior of the material susceptibilities and relaxation times appropriate to a second-order phase transition. The nonlinearity is much faster than In liquid crystals and has the advantage of being very broadband in comparison with the near band-gap and exitonic nonlinearities in semiconductors. It spans from visible to near infrared covering important telecom spectral windows. The nonlinearity is fully reversible and the effect is stable as long as the sample temperature is maintained to within 1°C just below the melting point of gallium which is about 29%. We have demonstrated that the nonlinearity is fully compatible with wavegulde technology as the gallium mirror may be formed at the tip of a single mode flber. A high-contrast optical switch has already been demonstrated operating at milliwatt light power levels, with a roll-off frequency in excess of 100kHz The switch is also capable of routing sub-microsecond optical pulses. In another application, a liquefying gallium mirror was used to achieve Q-switching of an erbium fiber laser.
Dhanjal, S.
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Emel'yanov, V.I.
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Petropoulos, P.
522b02cc-9f3f-468e-bca5-e9f58cc9cad7
Richardson, D.J.
ebfe1ff9-d0c2-4e52-b7ae-c1b13bccdef3
Zheludev, N.I.
32fb6af7-97e4-4d11-bca6-805745e40cc6
Dhanjal, S.
a3f4fa8d-654f-4162-bd38-67c9b2d2f136
Emel'yanov, V.I.
c48928d6-e942-4ab6-a8f4-4f118073b953
Petropoulos, P.
522b02cc-9f3f-468e-bca5-e9f58cc9cad7
Richardson, D.J.
ebfe1ff9-d0c2-4e52-b7ae-c1b13bccdef3
Zheludev, N.I.
32fb6af7-97e4-4d11-bca6-805745e40cc6

Dhanjal, S., Emel'yanov, V.I., Petropoulos, P., Richardson, D.J. and Zheludev, N.I. (1998) Nonlinearity of liquefying gallium: a breakthrough opportunity for controlling light with light at milliwatt power levels. XVI International Conference on Coherent and Nonlinear Optics (ICONO '98), Russian Federation. 29 Jun - 03 Jul 1998.

Record type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

Abstract

We have found that an interface between glass and metallic gallium held just below the melting point shows an astonishingly large broadband cubic nonlinearity reaching chi (3) ~ 1 esu. This constitutes a new type of nonlinear optical response. This large nonlinearity is available in a very versatile material geometry. It works at room temperature and has major device potential in optoelectronics. The physical mechanism behind the nonlinearity is related to a new type of optically induced phase transition between two phases of gallium and shows critical behavior of the material susceptibilities and relaxation times appropriate to a second-order phase transition. The nonlinearity is much faster than In liquid crystals and has the advantage of being very broadband in comparison with the near band-gap and exitonic nonlinearities in semiconductors. It spans from visible to near infrared covering important telecom spectral windows. The nonlinearity is fully reversible and the effect is stable as long as the sample temperature is maintained to within 1°C just below the melting point of gallium which is about 29%. We have demonstrated that the nonlinearity is fully compatible with wavegulde technology as the gallium mirror may be formed at the tip of a single mode flber. A high-contrast optical switch has already been demonstrated operating at milliwatt light power levels, with a roll-off frequency in excess of 100kHz The switch is also capable of routing sub-microsecond optical pulses. In another application, a liquefying gallium mirror was used to achieve Q-switching of an erbium fiber laser.

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Published date: 1998
Venue - Dates: XVI International Conference on Coherent and Nonlinear Optics (ICONO '98), Russian Federation, 1998-06-29 - 1998-07-03

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 76625
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/76625
PURE UUID: 92d7675a-ef0c-4851-acf3-2db7b7581853
ORCID for P. Petropoulos: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-1576-8034
ORCID for D.J. Richardson: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-7751-1058
ORCID for N.I. Zheludev: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-1013-6636

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Date deposited: 11 Mar 2010
Last modified: 06 Mar 2019 01:37

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Contributors

Author: S. Dhanjal
Author: V.I. Emel'yanov
Author: P. Petropoulos ORCID iD
Author: D.J. Richardson ORCID iD
Author: N.I. Zheludev ORCID iD

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