Nanoscale Light-Induced Melting as a Mechanism for Broadband Optical Switching
V.A. Fedotov, K.F. MacDonald, G. Stevens and N.I. Zheludev
We show that the strong nonlinear optical response of gallium/silica interfaces to nanosecond laser pulses, at wavelengths between 440 to 680 nm, is the consequence of light-induced melting in a layer of gallium just a few tens of nanometers thick. This conclusion is supported by numerical modeling of the interaction between laser radiation and a gallium/silica interface and of subsequent changes in the thermal and optical properties of the structure.