Optical properties of one-dimensional photonic structures consisting of Kerr-type nonlinear and magnetic layers under the action of an external static magnetic field in the Faraday geometry are investigated. The structure is a periodic arrangement of alternating nonlinear and magnetic layers (a one-dimensional photonic crystal) with one of the layers doubled to create a defect where periodicity is violated. Strong enhancement of nonreciprocity is observed at the frequencies of the defect modes, where linearly polarized light incident from one side of the structure undergoes polarization rotation upon reflection, while light reflected from the other side has its polarization unchanged. Using the nonlinear transfer matrix calculations in the frequency domain, it is demonstrated that defect resonances in the nonlinear reflection spectra undergo bending, resulting in polarization bistability of reflected light. This bistability is shown to result in abrupt switching between linear polarization of the output reflected light when the input intensity is varied. This switching is confirmed in finite-difference time-domain simulations, and its hysteresis character is established.
Journal of Modern Optics, 2014, Vol 61, Issue 4, p. 276-285