All-optical switches on a silicon chip realized using photonic crystal nanocavities

Takasumi Tanabe, Masaya Notomi, Satoshi Mitsugi, Akihiko Shinya, Eiichi Kuramochi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

393 Citations (Scopus)


We demonstrate all-optical switching in the telecommunication band, in silicon photonic crystals at high speed (∼50 ps), with extremely low switching energy (a few 100 fJ), and high switching contrast (∼10 dB). The devices consist of ultrasmall high-quality factor nanocavities connected to input and output waveguides. Switching is induced by a nonlinear refractive-index change caused by the plasma effect of carriers generated by two-photon absorption in silicon. The high-quality factor and small mode volume led to an extraordinarily large reduction in switching energy. The estimated internal switching energy in the nanocavity is as small as a few tens of fJ, indicating that further reduction on the operating energy is possible.

Original languageEnglish
Article number151112
Pages (from-to)1-3
Number of pages3
JournalApplied Physics Letters
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Oct 10
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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