2 May 2014 Absolute and relative refractory periods in a micropillar laser with saturable absorber
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We study the nonlinear dynamics of semiconductor micropillar lasers with intracavity saturable absorber in the excitable regime. The excitable regime is characterized by an all-or-none type of response to an input perturbation: when the perturbation amplitude is below the excitable threshold, the system remains in its quiet, stable state; when the perturbation exceeds the excitable threshold, a calibrated response pulse is emitted. It is believed to have great potential for fast neuromorphic optical processing, in addition to being also interesting for the study of nonlinear wave propagation. Fast excitable, neuron-like, dynamics is experimentally evidenced with response times in the 200ps range. We also show the presence of an absolute and a relative refractory periods in this system, analog to what is found in biological neurons but with several orders of magnitude faster response times. The absolute refractory period is the amount of time after a first excitable pulse has been emitted during which it is not possible to excite the system anymore. The relative refractory period is the time after a first excitable pulse during which an inhibited response is emitted and has been often overlooked in optical systems. Both these times are of fundamental importance regarding the propagation of stable excitable waves, and in view of designing spike-time based optical signal processing systems. The experimental results are well described qualitatively by a simple model of a laser with saturable absorber.
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F. Selmi, F. Selmi, R. Braive, R. Braive, G. Beaudoin, G. Beaudoin, I. Sagnes, I. Sagnes, R. Kuszelewicz, R. Kuszelewicz, S. Barbay, S. Barbay, "Absolute and relative refractory periods in a micropillar laser with saturable absorber", Proc. SPIE 9134, Semiconductor Lasers and Laser Dynamics VI, 913411 (2 May 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2052327; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2052327

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