Polarization conversion that is photoinduced by means of spatially oscillating photovoltaic currents in bulk LiNbO3:Fe is studied both experimentally and theoretically. We measured nearly complete ordinary-to-extraordinary conversion for input ordinary beam diameters greater than ∼200 μm and almost no conversion for beam diameters less than ∼60 μm. The extraordinary light was scattered perpendicular to the optic axis into a bow-tie-shaped distribution. To analyze the effect, we use the bulk photovoltaic model to derive coupled-wave equations for arbitrary-direction two-beam coupling (one ordinary wave, one extraordinary wave) and multiple-beam coupling (one ordinary wave, multiple extraordinary waves). We include the effect of beam diameter by using an overlap integral of the interacting beam profiles. The theory correctly models both the experimental three-dimensional distribution of extraordinary scattered light and the total polarization conversion as a function of beam diameter.
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