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Abrupt turn-on and hysteresis in a VCSEL with frequency-selective optical feedback

Naumenko, Alexander and Loiko, Natalia and Sondermann, Markus and Jentsch, Karl and Ackemann, Thorsten (2006) Abrupt turn-on and hysteresis in a VCSEL with frequency-selective optical feedback. Optics Communications, 259 (2). pp. 823-833. ISSN 0030-4018

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The emission characteristics of a vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL) operated in a single-transverse mode and coupled to an external cavity with a diffraction grating as a frequency-selective element are analyzed experimentally, numerically and analytically. The experiments yield a rather abrupt turn-on of the VCSEL to a high-amplitude emission state and hysteresis phenomena. The experimental results are explained by numerical simulations and analytical calculations demonstrating the possibility of bistability between lasing and non-lasing states close to threshold. Hence, the scheme might be useful in all-optical photonic switching applications. A detailed bifurcation analysis near threshold is given by superimposing the numerical results with analytical steady-state curves. The mode selection and switching behavior obtained in the simulations can be interpreted from the point of view of the preference of states with the minimal total losses.