Ultrafast all-optical switching


Switching the optical properties of nanophotonic structures all-optically provides the ability to dynamically manipulate such systems as light propagates through them. The increasing interest in all-optical switching is due to the inherent fastness of the process, which promises both new developments in information technology and a novel control of fundamental processes in, e.g., cavity quantum electrodynamics. Of major interest are microcavities since they allow the storage of light for a certain amount of time in a small volume thereby increasing the interaction of light and matter. There are two main switching mechanism being exploited, free-carrier switching and switching using the electronic Kerr effect leading to ultimate fast shift of the cavity resonance and to a chnage in the frequency and bandwidth of the stored photons.

Magnetism and plasmonics

magnetic hole array

The excitation and propagation of surface plasmons at the interfaces of nanostructured metallic films are responsible for their observed special optical properties, such as the enhanced optical transmission. Moreover, patterning such subwavelength hole arrays into ferromagnetic thin films is an effective way to alter and engineer the magnetic response of the film, such as coercivity, remanence, and anisotropy. The combination of both effects is subject of magneto-plasmonics, where the excitation of surface plasmons in a magnetic field strongly influences the magneto-optic response of the material.

Near-field optics

near field

Near-field optics and especially near-field scanning optical microscopy (NSOM) has become very popular again in recent years. This is due to the increased attention to nanosized photonic structures, such as photonic crystals, waveguides, and cavities. With NSOM one gains information of the structure (topography) with the high lateral resolution of an atomic force microscope (AFM) while at the same time one has a sub-wavelength optical resolution due to the nanosized probe. It is therefore possible to retrieve information on the influence of the structure (periodic, ordered, or disordered) on the light field traveling inside, not only in the linear interaction but also in the non-linear interaction regime. Furthermore, the influence of applied external fields on the light propagation (electro- and magneto-opics) can be studied with high accuracy.


  • 20 Jan 2015

    New paper published online!
    The paper entitled "Observation of nonlinear bands in near-field scanning optical microscopy of a photonic-crystal waveguide" appeared today in Journal of Applied Physics.
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  • 25 Oct 2014

    After major maintainance, new style website goes online.
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  • 07 Oct 2014

    Visiting the Annual Optics Conference in the Netherlands and presenting a poster.
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  • 01 Oct 2014

    Begin of the new position at Saxion University of Applied Sciences.
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  • 19 Sep 2014

    New paper published!
    The paper is entitled "Differential ultrafast all-optical switching of the resonances of a micropillar cavity" and appeared in Applied Physics Letters.
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