MBE-grown ZnSe epilayers released from their GaAs substrates exhibit thermally induced absorptive optical bistability of high contrast ratios and low switching powers in a wide temperature range up to room temperature. For increasing sample thickness or for enhanced reflection realized by inserting the samples into a resonator, counteracting dispersive switching becomes visible. The interplay of both the absorptive and dispersive effects is studied for different samples and varied experimental parameters. Long-term stability of the samples with regard to all switching effects makes them promising candidates for application studies.
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