Original Publication Date: 1986-Nov-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-09
An optical bistable switch element with internal amplification ("optical transistor") uses a control light beam 3 to vary the index of refraction in a non-linear medium and thus to switch the optical signal beam 2 between transmission and total internal reflection at the boundary of the non-linear medium 1. The figure shows an example of the optical transistor integrated in a micro-optical device. The non-linear material, such as GaAs or InSb for infrared radiation, has a tapered end (angle R) such that the horizontal optical signal beam 2 impinges at an angle slightly less than that for total internal reflection and exists as beam T. (The angle of total internal reflection may also be influenced by suitably doping the boundary surface.