Optics Express

Circular grating resonators as small mode-volume microcavities for switching

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We demonstrate the suitability of microcavities based on circular grating resonators (CGRs) as fast switches. This type of optical resonator is characterized by a high quality factor and very small mode volume. The waveguide-coupled CGRs are fabricated with silicon-on-insulator technology compatible with standard complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) processing. The linear optical properties of the CGRs are investigated by transmission spectroscopy. From 3D finite-difference time-domain simulations of isolated CGRs, we identify the measured resonances. We probe the spatial distribution and the parasitic losses of a resonant optical mode with scanning near-field optical microscopy. We observe fast all-optical switching within a few picoseconds by optically generating free charge carriers within the cavity. © 2009 Optical Society of America.