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Optical bistable devices as sensing elements

Gonzalez-Marcos, A. P. and Hurtado, A. and Martin-Pereda, J. A. (2004) Optical bistable devices as sensing elements. Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering, 5611. pp. 63-70. ISSN 0277-786X

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The nonlinear optical properties of many materials and devices have been the main object of research as potential candidates for sensing in different places. Just one of these properties has been, in most of the cases, the basis for the sensing operation. As a consequence, just one parameter can be detected. In this paper, although just one property will be employed too, we will show the possibility to sense different parameters with just one type of sensor. The way adopted in this work is the use of the optical bistability obtained from different photonic structures. Because this optical bistability has a strong dependence on many different parameters the possibility to sense different inputs appears. In our case, we will report the use of some non-linear optical devices, mainly Semiconductor Optical Amplifiers, as sensing elements. Because their outputs depend on many parameters, as the incident light wavelength, polarization, intensity and direction, applied voltage and feedback characteristics, they can be employed to detect, at the same time, different type of signals. This is because the way these different signals affect to the sensor response is very different too and appears under a different set of characteristics.