Ultrafast All-Optical Polarization Switch Controlled by Optically Excited Picosecond Acoustic Perturbation of Exciton Resonance in Planar Microcavities
All-optical switching of the polarization of exciton polaritons is studied using a picosecond acoustic perturbation of the exciton resonance in high-Q planar GaAs/AlAs microcavities. An irreversible switching of the degree of circular polarization from 22% up to 82% is realized in a microcavity pumped by a laser with a photon energy slightly exceeding the lower polariton resonance. The polarization switch is performed by a short-term, about 30-ps-long, blueshift of the exciton energy of (In, Ga)As quantum wells in the cavity active layer by a 10-ps strain pulse generated in the GaAs substrate by a violet femtosecond laser pulse and injected into the microcavity. The proposed all-optical control of light polarization using acoustic modulation of a polariton resonance opens the way for fast and easily tunable optical polarization switches.