Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

CasebyCase: Halfing the amplitude of light

  1. Aug 12, 2008 #1
    Is there a way to reduce the amplitude of a light wave to half its value in one case and do nothing in the other cases?

    Three Cases:

    Case A: Light amplitude input is 2 - reduce to 1 on output (cut in half)
    Case B: Light amplitude input is 1 - output is 1 (do nothing/pass through)
    Case C: Light amplitude input is 0 - output is 0

    I would like to design a hi-speed device that would allow this to occur. By hi-speed I mean instantaneous or without converting to/from any electronics. I can almost envison a possibility where you have some kind of photon absorbing medium that doesnt kick in until a certain intensity is reached. Does anyone have any insight or could point me into a(ny) direction with this?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 12, 2008 #2
    Broadly, look into passive nonlinear optics.
  4. Aug 13, 2008 #3

    Andy Resnick

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    Both Kerr lenses and saturable absorbers can be employed to do this. See how femtosecond pulses are generated.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?

Similar Discussions: CasebyCase: Halfing the amplitude of light