A new reconfigurable cascadable all-optical on-chip device is presented. The gate operates by combining the Vernier effect with a novel effect, the gain-index lever, to help shift the dominant lasing mode from a mode where the laser light is output at one facet to a mode where it is output at the other facet. Since the laser remains above threshold, the speed of the gate for logic operations as well as for reprogramming the function of the gate is primarily limited to the small signal optical modulation speed of the laser, which can be on the order of up to about tens of GHz. The gate can be rapidly and repeatedly reprogrammed to perform any of the basic digital logic operations by using an appropriate analog optical or electrical signal at the gate selection port. Other all-optical functionality includes wavelength conversion, signal duplication, threshold switching, analog to digital conversion, digital to analog conversion, signal routing, and environment sensing. Since each gate can perform different operations, the functionality of such a cascaded circuit grows exponentially.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG-48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.