Journal de physique iii vol:4 issue:12 pages:2391-2404
The optical thyristor is a promising device for optical information processing. It combines a receiving-, transmitting- and memory function in a single device, with at the same time a considerable optical gain. We show in this paper the dynamics of differential switching, i.e., the switching of a single thyristor in an array of thyristors, and compare it to the switching of a single device. We also review the recent developments which have led to a dramatic increase of the speed and optical sensitivity of optical thyristors. Finally, we show some interesting applications which have been realized with differential switching in arrays of sensitive thyristors (5 x 5, 16 x 16 unto 32 x 64 devices), such as locating the maximum light intensity or integrated intensity of optical input patterns, and transcription of optical information from one thyristor array to another in free space.