The PnpN1,2 and PnN3,4 optoelectronic switches are devices with two distinct stable states. The off-state is characterized by a high electrical impedance. In the on- state the device emits light and has a low electrical impedance. Switching from one state to the other is induced by either optical or electrical inputs. Applications may range from optical parallel processing structures to optoelectronic integrated circuits. The latter applications require high speed. Switching times of the order of 2.5 ns have been obtained using gate contacts2·4 to extract both holes and electrons during turn-off (turn-on is fast). Two-dimension-al arrays of these devices (for optical parallel processing) require low holding power to avoid excess heat dissipation and to obtain high optical sensitivity. Also scaling down is necessary to obtain small pixel elements.

© 1990 Optical Society of America

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