Abstract

We have proposed a scheme for all-optical switching and flip-flop based on controllable optical bistability in a simple three-level V-type atomic system assisted by an incoherent pump field. Due to the auxiliary incoherent pump, the atomic population is redistributed in the three levels, and then the absorption-dispersion property and the Kerr nonlinearity of the medium are different from those of the conventional V-type electromagnetically induced transparency system. The results show that both the thresholds and the area (or shape) of the hysteresis loop can be controlled efficiently via the adjustment of either the incoherent pump field or the coupling field. As a result, with a constant cavity input, the output of the optical cavity can be switched between the low- and high-power states of different bistable curves by tuning the optical fields. Based on this effect, we realize all-optical steady-state switching and set-reset flip-flop operation by adding a pulse sequence (positive pulse or set-reset pulse) onto either the incoherent pump field or the coupling field. Such a simple and effective technique of optical switching and flip-flop can find application in all-optical signal processing systems.

© 2019 Optical Society of America

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