Optical bistable devices containing GaAs/AlGaAs multiple quantum well (MQW) structures have shown great potential for performing fast low-power optical switching at room temperature.1 The presence of a much stronger exciton absorption feature in the MQW structures compared to bulk GaAs suggests far superior performance in the former. We report the observation of room-temperature bistability in bulk GaAs with input power <10 mW and intensities of a few kW/cm2. The intensities are consistent with the data of Miller et al.2 which show a saturation intensity of nearly 4 kW/cm2 in a MQW sample with a detuning of less than a halfwidth from the peak of the exciton resonance. Our detunings are always several halfwidths.

© 1984 Optical Society of America

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