The optimal loop length of a nonlinear optical loop mirror (NOLM) for switching solitons was investigated numerically for the case where the wavelengths of the control pulse and signal soliton straddle the dispersion zero. In our analysis, the Raman effect is also included because the wavelength difference between the control and signal pulses is within the Raman gainband. It was found that the control pulse not only imposes phase shift on the copropagating signal, but also transfers part of its energy to the signal. Furthermore, the broadening of the control pulse due to the combined effect of self-phase modulation and group velocity dispersion increases the switching power of the control pulse significantly. The broadening of the control pulse also introduces more uniform phase shift to the signal, thus resulting in a higher switching efficiency. Finally, our results show that the pulse distortion is minimal if a loop length equivalent to one soliton period is employed.
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