We propose and demonstrate a reflection-type optical modulator, with surface-normal architecture, that exploits the optical saturation of absorption in semiconductor quantum wells. The modulation section of the modulator, which is composed of quantum wells placed within a Fabry–Perot cavity, is optically controlled by an intensity-modulated beam generated by an in-plane laser integrated monolithically on the same wafer and grown in a single epitaxial step. The modulation section and the in-plane laser share the same medium; therefore, efficient coupling between the control beam and the signal beam is achieved. The device was successfully used for active mode locking of an erbium-doped fiber laser.
© 2003 Optical Society of America
(230.4110) Optical devices : Modulators
(230.5590) Optical devices : Quantum-well, -wire and -dot devices
(320.7080) Ultrafast optics : Ultrafast devices
(320.7090) Ultrafast optics : Ultrafast lasers
M. Guina, A. Vainionpää, A. Harkonen, L. Orsila, J. Lyytikäinen, and O. G. Okhotnikov, "Vertical-cavity saturable-absorber intensity modulator," Opt. Lett. 28, 43-45 (2003)