Nanoscale surface domain formation on the +z face of lithium niobate by pulsed ultraviolet laser illumination

Valdivia, C. E.; Sones, C. L.; Scott, J. G.; Mailis, S.; Eason, R. W.; Scrymgeour, D. A.; Gopalan, V.; Jungk, T.; Soergel, E.; Clark, I.
January 2005
Applied Physics Letters;1/10/2005, Vol. 86 Issue 2, p022906
Academic Journal
Single-crystal congruent lithium niobate samples have been illuminated on the +z crystal face by pulsed ultraviolet laser wavelengths below (248 nm) and around (298–329 nm) the absorption edge. Following exposure, etching with hydrofluoric acid reveals highly regular precise domain-like features of widths ∼150–300 nm, exhibiting distinct three-fold symmetry. Examination of illuminated unetched areas by scanning force microscopy shows a corresponding contrast in piezoelectric response. These observations indicate the formation of nanoscale ferroelectric surface domains, whose depth has been measured via focused ion beam milling to be ∼2 μm. We envisage this direct optical poling technique as a viable route to precision domain-engineered structures for waveguide and other surface applications.


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