Modulation of interband-resonant light (∼800 nm) by intersubband-resonant light (5–7 μm) was investigated in n-doped AlGaAs/GaAs multiple quantum wells by a two-color femtosecond pump-probe technique. Modulation with a recovery time of ∼1 ps is observed in a plainer-type modulation device at room temperature. The modulation of interband absorption coefficient is ∼1000 cm−1 when the energy density of the intersubband light pulse is ∼4 fJ/μm2. The modulation efficiency indicates that 99% modulation can be achieved with a control pulse energy of ∼1 pJ when a conventional waveguide-type device structure is utilized. The mechanism which determines the modulation speed is discussed in terms of carrier relaxation process. It is shown that the modulation speed is mainly determined by the inter- and intrasubband relaxation times, where the latter is influenced by hot phonon effects.

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