Recent Progress in Semiconductor Photorefractive Crystals

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This chapter is meant to supplement previous extended reviews on photorefractive semiconductors. The emphasis is on enhancement of the photorefractive response with no external field. The advantages and a brief history of the study of photorefractive semiconductors are presented. Optimization of two-beam coupling and diffraction efficiency in cubic semiconductors by appropriate choice of the crystal orientation and polarization of the light beams is considered. Enhancement of the refractive index modulation by proper selection of the recording wavelength is demonstrated. It is shown that an understanding of the lightinduced charge transfer processes in semiconductors allows improvement of the photorefractive properties by auxiliary illumination at an appropriate wavelength. Selected applications of photorefractive semiconductors are demonstrated for phase conjugation, all-optical interconnect, and laser-based ultrasonics receiver. Generation of spatial subharmonics recently achieved in photorefractive semiconductors is also discussed.