
D. A. B. Miller, "Refractive
FabryPerot Bistability with Linear Absorption: Theory of Operation and Cavity
Optimization," IEEE Journal of Quantum Electronics QE17, 306311 (1981). We
present a theory of optical bistability for a FabryPerot cavity containing a medium with
nonlinear refraction but linear absorption with only planewave and slowly varying
envelope approximations. An analytic expression for the critical intensity Ic for the
onset of bistability is derived and used to compare cavity designs. It is shown that 1)
the important material parameter for minimum Ic is the ratio n2/alpha, 2) the limit
to Ic is set by limitations on finesse due to inhomogeneities rather than the absorption
itself, and 3) the cavity design which gives lowest Ic for a given finesse is that for
which the mirror transmissivity equals the absorption per pass; at high finesse this
design leads to a total peak cavity transmission of 1/4 when mirror reflectivities are
equal.
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