Abstract

We analyze the three-dimensional refractive-index distribution that is induced locally when a laser beam is focused onto a very small region in a photorefractive crystal. The formation of the index distribution is deduced from the temporal behavior of the electron density distribution in the crystal under non-steady-state conditions. The density distribution is computed by the use of a set of the recurrence relations that was derived from Kukhtarev’s equations, which describe the transport of electrons in time. In particular, we calculated the index distribution formed in Fe-doped LiNbO3 crystals. To verify the validity of our analysis, we read, by using a phase-contrast microscope, refractive-index dots that were recorded in Fe-doped LiNbO3 crystals. Agood agreement was obtained between experimental results and the calculated phase-contrast images when the characteristics of the imaging system are taken into account. We also found that the induced index change is largest when the c axis of the LiNbO3 crystal is oriented parallel to the polarization direction of the reading beam. Under this optimal condition, we succeeded in recording up to 10 layers of readable data in a LiNbO3 crystal.

© 1996 Optical Society of America

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