This book contains all the papers presented at the NATO workshop on "Optical Switching in Low Dimensional Systems" held in Marbella, Spain from October 6th to 8th, 1988. Optical switching is a basic function for optical data processing, which is of technological interest because of its potential parallelism and its potential speed. Semiconductors which exhibit resonance enhanced optical nonlinearities in the frequency range close to the band edge are the most intensively studied materials for optical bistability and fast gate operation. Modern crystal growth techniques, particularly molecular beam epitaxy, allow the manufacture of semiconductor microstructures such as quantum wells, quantum wires and quantum dots in which the electrons are only free to move in two, one or zero dimensions, of the optically excited electron-hole pairs in these low respectively. The spatial confinement dimensional structures gives rise to an enhancement of the excitonic nonlinearities. Furthermore, the variations of the microstruture extensions, of the compositions, and of the doping offer great new flexibility in engineering the desired optical properties. Recently, organic chain molecules (such as polydiacetilene) which are different realizations of one dimensional electronic systems, have been shown also to have interesting optical nonlinearities. Both the development and study of optical and electro-optical devices, as well as experimental and theoretical investigations of the underlying optical nonlinearities, are contained in this book.