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Title: Semiconductor ring lasers as optical neurons
Authors: Mashal, L.
Keywords: semiconductor ring lasers, optical feedback, excitability
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: International Society for Optics and Photonics
Citation: 2
Series/Report no.: 8432;84321I
Abstract: Semiconductor Ring Lasers (SRLs) are a modern class of semiconductor lasers whose active cavity is characterized by a circular geometry. This enables the laser to support two counterpropagating modes, referred to as the clockwise (CW) and the counterclockwise (CCW) mode. Semiconductor ring lasers have been shown to have a regime of operation in which they are excitable, when the linear coupling between the counterpropagating modes is asymmetric. This can be achieved by increasing the reflection of, for example, the CW mode into the CCW mode. This will stabilize lasing in the CCW mode. In the excitable regime, the SRL will fire optical pulses (spikes) in the CW mode as a response to noise perturbations. In this contribution we experimentally and theoretically characterize these spikes. Our experiments reveal a statistical distribution of the characteristics of the optical pulses that is not observed in regular excitable systems. In particular, an inverse correlation exists between the pulse amplitude and duration. Numerical simulations and an interpretation in an asymptotic phase space confirm and explain these experimentally observed pulse characteristics [L. Gelens et al., Phys. Rev. A 82 063841, 2010]. We will also theoretically consider asymmetric SRLs coupled through a single bus waveguide. This is a first step towards an integrated optical neural network using semiconductor ring lasers as building blocks. We will show that for weak coupling, excitatory excursions still persist due to the similar phase space structure. Moreover, the coupled SRLs can excite pulses in each other and can thus function as communicating neurons [W. Coomans et al., Phys. Rev. E 84 036209, 2011]. This type of neural network can be fully integrated on chip and does not suffer from the drawback of needing extra-cavity measures, such as optical injection or saturable absorbers.
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