Abstract

A novel method to produce optical waveguides is demonstrated for lithium niobate (LiNbO3). It is based on electronic excitation damage by swift ions, i.e., with energies at approximately 1MeVamu or above. The new technique uses high-energy medium-mass ions, such as Cl, with electronic stopping powers above the threshold value for amorphization (56keVnm), reaching the maximum value a few micrometers inside the crystal. At the ultralow fluence regime (10121013cm2) an effective nanostructured medium is obtained that behaves as an optical waveguide where light propagates transversally to the amorphous nanotracks created by every single impact. The method implies a reduction of 4 orders of magnitude with respect to He implantation. The optical waveguides present reasonable losses (10dBcm) and significant second-harmonic generation (SHG) and electro-optic (EO) responses (>50% bulk) for the lowest fluences.

© 2007 Optical Society of America

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