Most of the intrinsic optical devices which have been studied in recent years consist of a Fabry-Perot resonator containing a nonlinear medium. The response time of such devices is determined by the transients associated with the high-Q resonator and the response time of the nonlinear medium. The fastest devices must be free of any Fabry-Perot cavity. The excitation of either surface plasmons at a nonlinear interface or guided waves in thin nonlinear films is a way to obtain an ultrafast bistable optical device. These two kinds of device have been studied.

© 1984 Optical Society of America

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