SPIE Photonics Europe
We present a novel concept for optical switches, which is based on the optical Kerr-effect. In contrast to previous approaches, the switching is achieved by a combination of strongly Kerr-active materials with specially designed and produced optical interference filters. Intense laser irradiation causes refractive index changes in the sensitive Kerr-active layers of the components and the interference filter changes its spectral characteristics, i.e. becomes reflective, depending on design factors. The concept offers several advantages when compared to currently applied switching methods, such as the easier integration into photonic systems because of their compact nature and wide spectral application range.