We experimentally and theoretically study the characteristics of semiconductor ring lasers bidirectionally coupled by a single bus waveguide. This configuration has, e.g., been suggested for use as an optical memory and as an optical neural network motif. The main results are that the coupling can destabilize the state in which both rings lase in the same direction, and it brings to life a state with equal powers at both outputs. These are both undesirable for optical memory operation. Although the coupling between the rings is bidirectional, the destabilization occurs due to behavior similar to an optically injected laser system.

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