Abstract

The polarization properties of diffraction from volume phase gratings in photorefractive sillenite crystals such as bismuth silicon oxide (Bi12SiO20), bismuth germanium oxide (Bi12GeO20), and bismuth titanium oxide (Bi12TiO20) are strongly modified by the presence of concomitant natural optical activity and electric-field-induced linear birefringence. A set of coupled-wave equations that characterize the Bragg regime has been derived for the 〈110〉 and the 〈001〉 crystallographic orientations typically employed in volume holographic storage and multiwave-mixing applications. The predicted anisotropic behavior of the grating diffraction is experimentally confirmed, and a significant efficiency improvement is shown to occur for proper choice of the operating mode and the probe beam polarization in a given configuration.

© 1986 Optical Society of America

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