Growth, defect structure, and THz application of stoichiometric lithium niobate

K. Lengyel, A. Péter, L. Kovács, G. Corradi, L. Pálfalvi, J. Hebling, M. Unferdorben, G. Dravecz, I. Hajdara, Zs Szaller, K. Polgár

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

33 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Owing to the extraordinary richness of its physical properties, congruent lithium niobate has attracted multidecade-long interest both for fundamental science and applications. The combination of ferro-, pyro-, and piezoelectric properties with large electro-optic, acousto-optic, and photoelastic coefficients as well as the strong photorefractive and photovoltaic effects offers a great potential for applications in modern optics. To provide powerful optical components in high energy laser applications, tailoring of key material parameters, especially stoichiometry, is required. This paper reviews the state of the art of growing large stoichiometric LiNbO3 (sLN) crystals, in particular, the defect engineering of pure and doped sLN with emphasis on optical damage resistant (ODR) dopants (e.g., Mg, Zn, In, Sc, Hf, Zr, Sn). The discussion is focused on crystals grown by the high temperature top seeded solution growth (HTTSSG) technique using alkali oxide fluxing agents. Based on high-temperature phase equilibria studies of the Li2O-Nb2O5-X2O ternary systems (X = Na, K, Rb, Cs), the impact of alkali homologue additives on the stoichiometry of the lithium niobate phase will be analyzed, together with a summary of the ultraviolet, infrared, and far-infrared absorption spectroscopic methods developed to characterize the composition of the crystals. It will be shown that using HTTSSG from K2O containing flux, crystals closest to the stoichiometric composition can be grown characterized by a UV-edge position of at about 302 nm and a single narrow hydroxyl band in the IR with a linewidth of less than 3 cm-1 at 300 K. The threshold concentrations for ODR dopants depend on crystal stoichiometry and the valence of the dopants; Raman spectra, hydroxyl vibration spectra, and Z-scan measurements prove to be useful to distinguish crystals below and above the photorefractive threshold. Crystals just above the threshold are preferred for most nonlinear optical applications apart holography and have the additional advantage to minimize the absorption even in the far-infrared (THz) range. The review also provides a discussion on the progress made in the characterization of non-stoichiometry related intrinsic and extrinsic defect structures in doped LN crystals, with emphasis on ODR-ion-doped and/or closely stoichiometric systems, based on both spectroscopic measurements and theoretical modelling, including the results of first principles quantum mechanical calculations on hydroxyl defects. It will also be shown that new perspective applications, e.g., the generation of high energy THz pulses with energies on the tens-of-mJ scale, are feasible with ODR-doped sLN crystals if optimal conditions, including the contact grating technique, are applied.

Original languageEnglish
Article number040601
JournalApplied Physics Reviews
Volume2
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2015

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lithium niobates
defects
crystals
damage
stoichiometry
thresholds
alkalies
photovoltaic effect
laser applications
acousto-optics
ternary systems
doped crystals
holography
infrared absorption
electro-optics
energy
physical properties
engineering
gratings
optics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

Cite this

Growth, defect structure, and THz application of stoichiometric lithium niobate. / Lengyel, K.; Péter, A.; Kovács, L.; Corradi, G.; Pálfalvi, L.; Hebling, J.; Unferdorben, M.; Dravecz, G.; Hajdara, I.; Szaller, Zs; Polgár, K.

In: Applied Physics Reviews, Vol. 2, No. 4, 040601, 01.12.2015.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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AU - Hebling, J.

AU - Unferdorben, M.

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