Birefringent Bistability in Ferroelectric Waveguides

Some ferroelectric materials are known to possess outstanding transverse electro-optic properties, namely, the electric-field-controlled birefringence. Great efforts have been made to study ferroelectric thin films to determine their use in integrated optoelectronic devices where light may be modulated or switched in ferroelectric waveguides by electric signals. It is well known that the remanent polarization in a ferroelectric material can be switched between two opposite directions with an external electric field; however, much to everyone's dissatisfaction, the polarization reversal causes no consequence for optical waves propagating in normal ferroelectric materials because the birefringence of a ferroelectric material depends quadratically on polarization. Nonvolatile light modulation and binary switching by means of polarization reversal in normal ferroelectric materials are thus prohibited.

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