Novel technique for evaluation of the intrinsic material parameters of photorefractive crystals is proposed. The method is based on the polarization self- modulation effect. Such parameters of photorefractive material as the majority carrier´s mobility-lifetime product can be estimated by studying the intensity dependence of the response time of space-charge field induced by a speckle-pattern incident on the crystal. This versatile method is applicable to fast photorefractive materials like sillenites or semiconductors. Advantages of the proposed method in comparison with the conventional two-wave-mixing technique are experimentally demonstrated with bismuth silicon oxide crystals illuminated by near infrared wavelength of 807 nm.

© 1999 Optical Society of America

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