Abstract

The tunneling phenomenon of light waves that are totally reflected at one of the film interfaces will be considerably modified when the dielectric coefficient of the film becomes intensity dependent. We present an exact analytical approach that describes the tunneling of totally reflected, transverse-electric-polarized plane waves through a nonlinear film, the dielectric function of which may reveal material saturation. Within certain parameter ranges the configuration shows a pronounced switching between total internal reflection (off state) and the onset of complete transmission (on state). The switching characteristic can be tuned either by the angle of incidence or by the input intensity from monostable to bistable response. An experimental demonstration of the predicted results has been performed by using a liquid-crystal p-methoxybenzilidene-p-n-butylaniline film sandwiched between two optical prisms.

© 1988 Optical Society of America

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