We show that 180° ferroelectric domains can be optically removed from rhodium-doped barium titanate crystals without externally applying an electric field. The experimental technique to remove the domains as well as to detect them are one and the same; it is the method used by Grubsky et al. to detect 180° domains using photorefractive two-beam coupling, known colloquially as the "Swiss cheese technique". We find that if thin domains (less than 100 microns by side) are present, they disappear as the crystal is monitored. In addition, we show that infrared radiation (1.06 nm) can induce the formation of thin 180° domains in well-poled crystals.

© 2001 Optical Society of America

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