High-speed optical communication requires ultrafast all-optical processing and switching capabilities. The Kerr nonlinearity, an ultrafast optical nonlinearity, is often used as the basic switching mechanism. A practical, small device that can be switched with ∼1-pJ energies requires a large Kerr effect with minimal losses (both linear and nonlinear). We have investigated theoretically and experimentally a number of Sebased chalcogenide glasses. We have found a number of compounds with a Kerr nonlinearity hundreds of times larger than silica, making them excellent candidates for ultrafast all-optical devices.
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