Applied Physics

High-Speed Light Modulation

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Science  22 Dec 2000:
Vol. 290, Issue 5500, pp. 2213
DOI: 10.1126/science.290.5500.2213a

Photonics is competing directly with microelectronics in systems where speed is important, and more advanced optical systems will require the further development of many types of devices, including waveguides, light switches, filters, polarizers, and modulators. Ideally, these active devices should be fast.

Harada et al. describe results on a fast light modulator that they developed based on an electro-optic polymer. The complex refractive index change induced by a relatively small applied electric field (141 volts) across the polymer gives rise to a large modulation efficiency (>30%) of the transmitted light through the polymer. They suggest that the fast operation of the device, in excess of 25 megahertz, makes the material a promising candidate in applications such as optical image processing and optical computing. — ISO

Appl. Phys. Lett. 77, 3683 (2000).

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