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Published May 2005 | public
Journal Article Open

Investigation of nonlinear absorption processes with femtosecond light pulses in lithium niobate crystals


The propagation of high-power femtosecond light pulses in lithium niobate crystals (LiNbO3) is investigated experimentally and theoretically in collinear pump-probe transmission experiments. It is found within a wide intensity range that a strong decrease of the pump transmission coefficient at wavelength 388 nm fully complies with the model of two-photon absorption; the corresponding nonlinear absorption coefficient is betap~=3.5 cm/GW. Furthermore, strong pump pulses induce a considerable absorption for the probe at 776 nm. The dependence of the probe transmission coefficient on the time delay Deltat between probe and pump pulses is characterized by a narrow dip (at Deltat~=0) and a long (on the picosecond time scale) lasting plateau. The dip is due to direct two-photon transitions involving pump and probe photons; the corresponding nonlinear absorption coefficient is betar~=0.9 cm/GW. The plateau absorption is caused by the presence of pump-excited charge carriers; the effective absorption cross section at 776 nm is sigmar~=8×10^–18 cm^2. The above nonlinear absorption parameters are not strongly polarization sensitive. No specific manifestations of the relaxation of hot carriers are found for a pulse duration of ~=0.24 ps.

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©2005 The American Physical Society (Received 20 December 2004; published 10 May 2005) Financial support from the Deutsche Telekom AG, from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (Award No. BU 913/13-1), and from the NSF (Engineering Research Centers Program for Neuromorphic Systems Engineering under Award No. EEC-9402726, NSF-Germany Cooperative Research Grant No. INT-0233988) is gratefully acknowledged.


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