We demonstrate how slow group velocities of light, which are readily achievable in photonic-crystal systems, can dramatically increase the induced phase shifts caused by small changes in the index of refraction. Such increased phase sensitivity may be used to decrease the sizes of many devices, including switches, routers, all-optical logical gates, wavelength converters, and others. At the same time a low group velocity greatly decreases the power requirements needed to operate these devices. We show how these advantages can be used to design switches smaller than 20 μm×200 μm in size by using readily available materials and at modest levels of power. With this approach, one could have ∼10<sup>5</sup> such devices on a surface that is 2 cm× 2 cm, making it an important step towards large-scale all-optical integration.
© 2002 Optical Society of America
Marin Soljačić, Steven G. Johnson, Shanhui Fan, Mihai Ibanescu, Erich Ippen, and J. D. Joannopoulos, "Photonic-crystal slow-light enhancement of nonlinear phase sensitivity," J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 19, 2052-2059 (2002)