Abstract

We analyze the mechanisms leading to a highly diffractive fixed hologram in photorefractive Fe-doped lithium niobate crystals by simultaneous self-stabilized holographic recording and compensation at moderately high temperatures. We show that a partially compensated running hologram is produced during recording under this condition and discuss the performance of the process in terms of the operating temperature, the degree of oxidation ([Fe3+]/[Fe2+] ratio) of the sample, and the effect of the absorption grating arising from the spatial modulation of the Fe2+ concentration produced during photorefractive recording. We experimentally measure the evolution of the uncompensated remaining hologram during recording and the evolution of the diffraction efficiency of the fixed hologram during white-light development and show that the maximum fixed grating modulation to be achieved is roughly limited by Fe-dopant saturation. A reproducible η66% efficiency fixed grating was obtained on a sample exhibiting an otherwise maximum fixed η3% when using the classical three-step (recording at room temperature—compensating at high temperature—developing at room temperature) process.

© 2007 Optical Society of America

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