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Low-light-level all-optical switching

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Abstract

We propose an all-optical switch that utilizes the technique of storage and retrieval of light pulses. A single photon (probe pulse) switched by another (switching pulse) is feasible, and the on–off ratio can be as large as 10dB. We have experimentally demonstrated that the energy of the retrieved probe pulse is reduced to about 10% because of the presence of a switching pulse with an energy per unit area of one photon per λ2(2π). The achieved result does not depend on the coupling intensity, the atomic optical density, or the width and shape of the switching pulse.

© 2006 Optical Society of America

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