Optics express

Resonance enhanced large third order nonlinear optical response in slow light GaInP photonic-crystal waveguides.

PMID 20389591


We report a large nonlinear response in a 1.3mm long GaInP photonic crystal waveguide. The wide band gap of GaInP (1.9 eV) ensures that no two photon absorption takes place for photons at 1.55mm improving the nonlinear performance. The nonlinearity is enhanced by a resonance effect due to the waveguide end facet reflectivities as well as by the low group velocity exhibited by the waveguide. A low CW input pump power of approximately 2mW causes a very large change in the nonlinear refractive index coefficient which manifests itself in a large, approximately p /3 phase shift in the Fabry Perot fringes. The extracted effective nonlinear coefficient g varies from 3.4 x 105W-1m-1 at short wavelengths to 2.2 x 106W-1m-1 near the band edge. These values are several orders of magnitude larger than those obtained in reported nonlinear experiments which exploit the Kerr effect. We postulate therefore that the observed nonlinearity is due to a hybrid phenomenon which combines the Kerr effect and an index change which is induced by local heating that results from the residual linear absorption. The efficient nonlinear phase shift was also exploited in a fast dynamic experiment where we demonstrated wavelength conversion with 100ps wide pulses proving the potential for switching functionalities at multi GHz rates. The index change required for this switching experiment can not be obtained, at the power levels used here, with a g value of a few thousands W-1m-1 which is a typical Kerr coefficient in similar waveguides. Hence, we conclude that the hybrid nonlinearity is sufficiently fast to enable switching with a time scale of at least 100ps.