The dynamical properties of an InP photonic crystal nanocavity are experimentally investigated using pump-probe techniques and compared to simulations based on coupled-mode theory. Excellent agreement between experimental results and simulations is obtained when employing a rate equation model containing three time constants, that we interpret as the effects of fast carrier diffusion from an initially localized carrier distribution and the slower effects of surface recombination and bulk recombination. The variation of the time constants with parameters characterizing the nanocavity structure is investigated. The model is further extended to evaluate the importance of the fast and slow carrier relaxation processes in relation to patterning effects in the device, as exemplified by the case of all-optical wavelength conversion.
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