Bulk II–VI semi-insulating ternary alloy Cd<sub>0.9</sub>Zn<sub>0.1</sub>Te is characterized as a basic material for all-optical switching functions on free-space beams at λ = 1.5μm. The adopted switching mechanism jointly exploits photoconduction and the linear electro-optic effect. Cd<sub>0.9</sub>Zn<sub>0.1</sub>Te proves to be six orders of magnitude faster than binary CdTe:In working in the same configuration. Control-beam fluence of less than 0.02 nJ/μm<sup>2</sup> is sufficient for complete switching, and an extinction ratio of 23 dB is obtained, limited by spurious crystal birefringence. The role of material parameters in determining switching performances is discussed. A first estimate of the applicability of the switching principle in itself to communication signals is also given.
© 2001 Optical Society of America
(160.2100) Materials : Electro-optical materials
(160.5140) Materials : Photoconductive materials
(230.1150) Optical devices : All-optical devices
(230.5440) Optical devices : Polarization-selective devices
Silvia M. Pietralunga, Antonella Milani, Andrea Zappettini, and Mario Martinelli, "Experimental characterization of ternary Cd0.9Zn0.1Te as a basic material for all-optical processing in the 1.5-μm range," J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 18, 176-181 (2001)