Science Advances, 6, eaax8256 (2020)
Induced transparency is a common but remarkable effect in optics. It occurs when a strong driving field is used to render an otherwise opaque material transparent. The effect is known as electromagnetically induced transparency in atomic media and optomechanically induced transparency in systems that consist of coupled optical and mechanical resonators. In this work, we introduce the concept of photothermally induced transparency (PTIT). It happens when an optical resonator exhibits nonlinear behavior due to optical heating of the resonator or its mirrors. Similar to the established mechanisms for induced transparency, PTIT can suppress the coupling between an optical resonator and a traveling optical field. We further show that the dispersion of the resonator can be modified to exhibit slow or fast light. Because of the relatively slow thermal response, we observe the bandwidth of the PTIT to be 2 pi x 15.9 Hz, which theoretically suggests a group velocity of as low as 5 m/s.