Abstract

The time dependence of switching from total internal reflection to the transmission mode of a cw step turned-on laser is analyzed. The nonlinear thin film is bounded by linear dielectric media and possesses an intensity-dependent refractive index. Our theory accounts for the intense reflection and feedback interferences from the two interfaces at the total-internal-reflection state and for the nonlinear medium’s finite response time. We have explicitly evaluated the dependence of turn-on time on various optical and geometrical factors. The theory can be generalized to describe pulsed lasers and various forms of intensity-dependent refractive-index changes. Our theoretical results are important for constructing practical total-internal-reflection switching devices.

© 1989 Optical Society of America

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